In the Taklamakan Desert airplanes drop duplex communication devices into the sands below. Sergei thinks to himself how strange it is to be working alongside the Union and AEU. Patrick flies overhead in his Enact and vows that he’ll get the Gundams, but Kati tells him that’s impossible. Graham’s Over Flag squad is placed on standby, and he concludes that a total of 832 mobile suits are participating in the operation. In Tokyo, Louise window shops outside a jewelry store and says she wants Saji to buy her a pair of rings which he says he can’t afford. Sitting in traffic a few feet away, Kinue wonders what they’re doing. She then wonders if such a large-scale military exercise figured into Aeolia’s plans too. The HRL leader is informed that terrorists Anfs are heading for the desert base and that interference has been detected in the duplex communication system. Because the HRL took the heat for the selection of the exercise grounds, he hopes they’re able to capture at least two Gundams. The Gundam Dynames rides on the Gundam Kyrios as the two head for the uranium enrichment facility. When the terrorists begin their attack, Sergei realizes that the superpowers deliberately let the terrorists get close as a way to lure in the Gundams. As the Gundam Kyrios flies overhead, Lockon snipes the Anfs and several trucks. He tells Allelujah to retreat, but the two suddenly come under fire from a large missile barrage. A large squad of Realdos then attacks, and Lockon jumps off of the Kyrios. The Realdos rush in and eject their torsos to slam them into Lockon and Hallelujah and force them to the ground. Another wave of missiles comes in, followed by artillery fire from Tierens and Realdo Hover Tanks and bombardment by Realdos. At Wang’s mansion, Christina reports that the first phase has ended, which will probably lead to the next part of the plan: deploying Setsuna and Tieria. At the AEU’s forward base, Kati orders a squad of Hellions to take off and intercept Setsuna and Tieria. Patrick storms in and asks why he hasn’t received orders, and Kati tells him he’s on standby. The Gundam Exia and Gundam Virtue decloak and are immediately spotted by a squad of Realdos, which Setsuna proceeds to destroy. Tieria then fires his GN bazooka at the ground to create a trench that will serve as their escape route. Lockon and Allelujah head for the trench to retreat, and a barrage of missiles hits Setsuna and Tieria. Allelujah suddenly screams in pain when he senses Soma’s presence. Lockon spots a squad of Tierens approaching, led by Soma’s Tieren Taozi.
Soma jumps into the trench and completely ignores Lockon so that she can slam into Allelujah and drag him away. Lockon attacks the other Tierens with his beam pistol, but they fall back and allow a missile barrage to hit Lockon. Nearby, Setsuna and Tieria are unable to move due to the constant barrage of missile fire. Tieria tells Setsuna that he needs 170 seconds to finish recharging his GN particles, and Setsuna says that’s too long. With Allelujah unable to respond, Soma fires several shots to the Gundam Kyrios’ torso at point blank range. Hallelujah takes over and asks Soma for her name, and when she gives it to him, he says it’s a nice name to kill. He turns his shield into a pincer and attempts to stab Soma, but she dodges. Sergei and his men then begin firing at Hallelujah so that Soma can fall back. With Soma gone, Hallelujah is bored and hands control back to Allelujah. Five hours into the battle, Alejandro tells Ribbons that he’s going to meet with the other Observers because his job may well be over. As night falls, Kati tells Patrick to prepare for launch and relieve one of the squads currently in combat. The constant attacks begin to take their toll on the exhausted Meisters. Graham and the Over Flags squad launch from the Union carrier and head for the battlefield. Patrick takes off in his Enact and tells his Hellion wingmen that their objective is to capture the Gundam Virtue as soon as the attack stops. After 15 hours of constant bombardment, the attacks suddenly end on Setsuna and Tieria, so they use the opportunity to split up and retreat. As Tieria speeds across the sand, Patrick rushes in aggressively and dodges a bazooka blast. The Hellions then rush in and use vibration shields to trap the Gundam Virtue and encase it in an energy cube. Soma moves in to capture the disabled Gundam Kyrios, and Sergei warns her that it may move suddenly like last time. The Over Flags begin their attack run on Lockon, but Joshua breaks formation and transforms. He closes in on Lockon and opens fire, but Lockon hits him with his beam pistol and kills him. Graham then rushes in at high speed and transforms just before slamming into Lockon. As dawn rises, Setsuna wonders what happened to the other Meisters until he picks up something large on his radar: Ali’s custom Enact and the mobile armor Agrissa. Ali rams the Agrissa into Setsuna and knocks him into the ground. He then deploys the Agrissa’s spider legs and activates a plasma field that electrocutes Setsuna and the Gundam Exia. Shirin informs Marina about the military exercise, and Marina recalls Setsuna’s visit the night before. As Setsuna screams in agony, he wonders if he’ll die and recalls the appearance of the 0 Gundam. Suddenly, weapons fire from above hits the Agrissa and forces Ali to eject his Enact from it as it explodes. Setsuna looks up and sees the Gundam Throne Drei descending in the sky.
The military exercise begins, and although the Meisters know it’s a trap, it looks like it still catches them unawares. I don’t think they were expecting to be up against more than 800 mobile suits from the three superpowers. Given the animosity between the superpowers, it’s no surprise that they’re just staying out of each other’s ways rather than having detailed tactical coordination. They’ve realized that they can’t beat the Gundams on a technological level, so they’ve switched tactics to a battle of attrition. After more than 15 hours of fighting, it’s clear that the Meisters are wearing down. There was some planning on what to capture, as Patrick specifically goes after the Gundam Virtue and Soma after the Gundam Kyrios. In almost typical Gundam tradition, Setsuna encounters an enemy that electrocutes him and his suit. And in another moment of near-death desperation, a mysterious Gundam descends from the sky and saves his life. But that’s just the beginning of the mystery of the new Gundams.