"Set For Life" is a comic story that was published in The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021. The story was written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Sam Beck, and published by IDW Publishing on December 15, 2021.
At the Jedi outpost on the mining world of Elphrona, Porter Engle serves the other Jedi a stew made from some herbs growing out of a deposit of nova crystals in the Verdigris Hills. He jokingly tells the other Jedi to let him know if it turns out to be poisonous. Indeera Stokes tells Porter not to give any to her pet Charhound Ember since she is trying to train her off begging. Bell Zettifar tells Indeera not to be so strict since Ember is still growing.
Just then, a droid informs the Jedi that an aurodium mine has collapsed at Grid 24B-30, leaving at least one miner trapped inside. Since Elphrona rescue teams are hours away, they have requested assistance from the Jedi. Bell grumbles about missing dinner. Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm allows Bell to bring his stew with him.
Mission to the mine
The Jedi travel towards the aurodium mine in a Vanguard tracked vehicle. When Bell asks why they didn't travel in a Jedi Vector, Greatstorm explains that the magnetic fields near the mine is too strong for them to reach. Since Bell lacks the experience and skills to land the Vector, he accepts his master's decision. Greatstorm says that Bell's time will come and that he has some exciting plans for Bell. In the distance, Bell and Greatstorm spots the miner's emergency signal.
At the mine, Greatstorm and Bell meet the mine foreman, who explains that their delver droids' sensors picked up something interesting. His partner Freeno went into the shaft they dug out to investigate. However, the shaft was not stable and the roof partially caved in, trapping him. Everytime he moves, the ground shakes. They tried send in delving droids to help retrieve Freeno but they were lost in the rockfalls.
Master Greatstorm says that they will go in. The foreman is alarmed that the Jedi would try to enter the mine shaft given their unsuccessful attempt. Greatstorm replies that while Jedi and droids are different, fear is not much of an issue. Bell says that he will follow his master but advises the pet Ember to stay behind to avoid causing them worries.
The mine rescue
As they walk deeper into the mine, Greatstorm asks his Padawan Bell if he senses the fragility of the place. He explains that it is a void where it was once solid. Greatstorm reassures Bell that the cave will let them know through the Force that it will let them fall. He says that things will be fine. Bell disagrees and asks him to tell it to the wrecked droids lying by the rocks.
As the Jedi approach the shaft, Freeno tells them not to take another step since the roof is not stable and the vibrations will bring the cave down on their heads. Freeno tells them that he saw the biggest kantak crystal and attempted to retrieve it but dislodged an important rock. He says that the crystal is right here but he doesn't dare use his tools to remove it. Greatstorm reassures Freeno that they are here to help him. He counsels Freeno to stay still and focus more on himself than on the rock.
Greatstorm tells Bell to use his Force powers to keep the rocks from falling on the shaft. He says that they must convince the passage to remain a passage for just a bit longer. When Bell likens the ordeal to trying to lift the whole mountain, Greatstorm says that it is more akin to keeping the mountain from falling on their heads. He tells Freeno that they have used the Force to temporarily settle the mine and tells him to get out while he still can. However, Freeno is still determined to remove the kantak crystal.
Greatstorm protests at Freeno's greed, warning him no stone is worth his life. However, Freeno ignores the Jedi Master and attempts to use his axe to remove the crystal. Bell warns that they have to leave and that they cannot let that man's selfishness cause them their lives. With the cave starting to collapse, Greatstorm orders his Padawan to leave. Bell refuses to abandon his Master but Greatstorm uses the Force to push him out of the mine before it collapses.
Bell fears that Greatstorm is dead but is relieved to see his Master emerging from the mine with Freeno and the kantak crystal. Greatstorm speaks with the miner, telling him that he is alive because of the choices other people have made to help him when he needed help. He tells Freeno to reconsider his life choices, which the miner promises to do so.
When Bell questions Greatstorm about his actions during the mine rescue, the Jedi Master explains that Jedi protect life and the light. However, they do not protect people from making stupid decisions, reasoning that is beyond even the power of the Force. Since they do not expect perfect, the only choices one should seek to control are their own. He asks Bell to consider whether he would still have gone in had they known that Bell would endanger them through his own selfishness. Bell admits he is unsure but Greatstorm reassures him that one day he will be sure.
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Notes and references
- "Set For Life" takes place prior to Loden Greatstorm's capture in The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, which takes place in c. 232 BBY per the reasoning here. However, it also takes place after Bell Zettifar was discovered by the Jedi Order, which Light of the Jedi places fifteen years earlier, meaning he was discovered around 247 BBY, and "Set For Life" takes place between those years.