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Once you travel to the Star Forge in the Ebon Hawk you cannot return to the world below, and once you approach the first junction on the Star Forge you cannot return to the Ebon Hawk either. There's no Workbench you can use on the Star Forge, so upgrade armor and weapons on the Ebon Hawk beforehand.

Party selection is also important, as you won't be able to change it later. Unless you need your party to set mines, the only other skill that's likely to be of use to you is Computer Use (up to 60 spikes can be used, although this is optional). Thus combat support is the priority: you encounter dark Jedi and Sith apprentices, and various droids, Sith troopers and turrets, on the first two decks and in the command center, but ultimately you face Darth Malak alone.

Star Forge on the Galaxy Map

If you haven't returned to the dark side, then after leaving the planet Carth picks up a transmission from the Republic fleet, which has begun its assault on the Star Forge:

Carth: The Republic Fleet must have got the message I sent as we were crashing onto that planet. I'm picking up a transmission from them now.
Dialog
Admiral Dodonna: This is Admiral Forn Dodonna to the Ebon Hawk, do you read us?
Carth: Admiral Dodonna, this is Carth Onasi. We are receiving your transmission.
Admiral Dodonna: Carth, I'm glad to see you're still alive. We've begun our assault on the Star Forge, but we're taking heavy losses. How did the Sith ever manage to build something of this scope!
Carth: The Star Forge wasn't constructed by the Sith, Admiral. We don't have time for me to fully explain it, but that space station is far older than you can imagine.
Admiral Dodonna: Maybe we should pull the fleet back and retreat. I don't know if we have the firepower to go up against this alien technology.
Carth: You can't do that, Admiral. The Star Forge is a factory of immense power. It's been churning out the capital ships, snub fighters and assault droids that have powered the Sith war effort. You have to destroy the Star Forge now or you'll be fighting an unending wave of reinforcements.
Admiral Dodonna: Then I guess we have no choice. But it isn't going to be easy. I can't even get our capital ships into position to start bombarding the Star Forge. The Sith fleet is too well organized. It's like they can guess our every move and counter our every strategy.
Carth: It's because of Bastila, Admiral. She turned to the dark side and become Malak's apprentice. We suspect she's somewhere on that space station right now, using her Battle Meditation against you and your fleet.
Admiral Dodonna: This is Master Vandar. A number of Jedi Knights have joined our fleet under his command.
Vandar: If Bastila is using her power to augment the Sith then Malak's fleet is invincible. Our only hope is to somehow stop Bastila from using her Battle Meditation.
Admiral Dodonna: How can we do that if she's on the space station?
Vandar: I will send a squadron of Jedi Knights to the Star Forge to find Bastila. Their small ships will be able to fly through the Sith blockade and dock on the space station. If they can find Bastila, they may be able to distract her attention from the battle overhead. That should allow you to move your capital ships into position for a final assault on the Star Forge itself.
Admiral Dodonna: I hate to ask you this after all you've done, Carth, but the Jedi may need all the help they can get...
Carth: Don't worry, Admiral. The Ebon Hawk and her crew are going to see this through to the end!
Vandar: And may the Force be with you.

If you have returned to the dark side, Bastila thinks you may use their arrival to your advantage:

Bastila: The Republic Fleet must have got the message Carth sent as we were crashing onto that planet. Maybe we can use their arrival to our advantage. If Malak is distracted by the attack, we should be able to get in close enough to dock on the Star Forge and hunt the Dark Lord down!
Dialog
Admiral Dodonna: This is Admiral Forn Dodonna to the Ebon Hawk, do you read us?
Bastila: Admiral Dodonna, this is Bastila Shan of the Jedi Order. We are receiving your transmission.
Admiral Dodonna: It is good to hear your voice Bastila. We had thought you were lost to us. Carth's transmission reported that Malak had taken you prisoner.
Bastila: The Jedi sent to rescue me from the Dark Lord did their job well - though I am sorry to report Carth did not survive the mission.
Admiral Dodonna: His loss is a great blow to the Republic. We could have used him in this battle. We were about to pull back. We're taking heavy losses against the Star Forge.
Bastila: Don't pull back, Admiral. You have to attack the Star Forge now, otherwise the Sith will use its power to destroy the Republic.
Admiral Dodonna: I'll try to press the attack but we can't hold out much longer. Not unless you can use your Battle Meditation to turn the tide.
Admiral Dodonna: This is Master Vandar. A number of Jedi Knights have joined the fleet, under his command.
Vandar: Bastila's power could help you win this battle, Admiral, but it will mean nothing if Malak escapes. Destroying the Star Forge is secondary to stopping the Sith threat once and for all.
Admiral Dodonna: What are you proposing?
Vandar: A small squadron of Jedi Knights in snub fighters could penetrate the Sith blockade and dock on the space station. If they can find Malak we can end the threat of the Sith... forever.
Admiral Dodonna: I'll order the fleet to press the attack and provide some cover for your fighters. But what of Bastila and her Battle Meditation?
Vandar: Bastila, you and... the Padawan... should join us. We will need the combined strength of our entire Order to defeat Malak.
Bastila: As you wish, Master Vandar.
Vandar: And may the Force be with you.
Bastila: The fools! Even Master Vandar did not realize you have reclaimed your identity as the Dark Lord! The Jedi strike team and the Republic forces will provide the perfect distraction as we hunt down your ex-apprentice. And once we have slain Malak, I can use my Battle Meditation and the power of the Star Forge to crush the Republic fleet. All our enemies will be destroyed in a single glorious day!

Either way, the Ebon Hawk approaches the Star Forge with four other small ships, two of which are blown to smithereens before they can dock with the space station.

Canderous[edit]

If you completed Canderous' dialogs, including all those unlocked after meeting Jagi's Challenge, then if you speak to him again at any point from now on:

Canderous: This looks like the end of our partnership. The battle we fight here will change the face of the galaxy. You, Revan, are the single greatest warrior of this age, and any battle we fight will bring me honor. I'll stay by your side through anything. I don't think I'm ready to give up this life of mine, this life of fighting, not quite yet. We have things we need to do here. I'm your man until the end, whatever path you take.

If you haven't returned to the dark side:

Journal Entry Added Canderous
Canderous has said that he will stand by you no matter what path you take or what enemies you face.