The Diva flies over a desert on its journey from Olivernotes in Canada to Rostroulan in South America. Seric discusses the situation with Flit and Natora and tells them he’s heard more units are gathering in Rostroulan to launch a counterattack on the Vagan energy weapon that destroyed Big Ring. Natora comments about how slowly they’re going and says they’d get there in a day if they flew higher and faster, but Seric points out that doing so would make them visible to enemies in satellite orbit. He calculated their course to avoid detection, noting that if the enemy detects them, they’d discover the location of Rostroulan and the goal of the upcoming operation. The ship rocks violently when it comes under attack from unmanned Vagan weapons speeding through the sand. The Diva hides in a large rock formation while repairs are underway. Bridge operator Ally Rein reports that the 18 unmanned drones are working as a group, but that’s all they know. Seric comments that the Vagans know how to adapt their weapons to Earth, but Flit counters that now isn’t the time to be impressed. Seric presses the point and wonders why the Vagans have more advanced mobile suits than the EFF and technology like the invisible umbrella. Seric and Flit are bothered that no mobile suits attacked this time, and Natora mentions the Phantom 3 that she just received information about. According to the info, a Federation ship went missing during the last large attack, and the team sent to find it went missing as well. Three ships and 10 mobile suits are estimated to have been destroyed by three Vagan suits, which Central Command has labeled the “Phantom 3.” Flit is angry that they didn’t receive this information earlier, and Seric says they at least know they’re going to be attacked again. Unoa catches Kio eavesdropping outside the bridge, and he’s surprised to learn that his aunt has been assigned to the ship’s medical staff. Unoa mentions that she got a message from Emily and Romary that they’ve moved elsewhere and are safe. She tells Kio he should contact Romary, but he says she’d probably tell him to get off the ship. Taku, Yu and Lucca, the three kids from Olivernotes then appear around the corner as they chase after Haro, with Wendy in close pursuit. Kio asks why she’s wearing a medical uniform, but she says she’s busy and runs off after the kids. Unoa explains that Wendy was studying medicine, so she’s using her as an assistant. Shanalua asks Kio to come with her and takes him down to the hangar, where Rody is working with Wootbit Gunhale. Shanalua gives Kio lessons in the AGE-3 Normal‘s cockpit and tells him to always keep moving, be aware of the enemy’s location and not let his guard down after shooting. Kio says that’s different from what Flit taught him, and Shanalua comments that he’s rushing in too much and focusing on offense only. She says she’s teaching him not how to defeat an opponent, but how to survive. Outside, Phantom 3 pilots Godom Tyneham, Deymon Large and Glatt Otto spot the Diva in its hiding place. Deymon wants to attack immediately, but Godom tells him to wait until the automatic turrets are deployed. Kio asks Rody about the AGE Builder, and Rody explains that he’s inputting the latest combat data into it. Rody formally introduces himself and asks how Kio liked the MS Battle Simulator. He then explains that he and Wootbit have long running ties to the Asuno family, since he’s worked on Flit’s machines in the past, and Dique was friends with Flit, along with Arisa being Asemu’s teammate. After Rody leaves, Kio puts out his hand, which Wootbit slaps away. Wootbit says he doesn’t care about the Asunos and that Kio can’t compare to Rody and his abilities. Kio sees that Wootbit respects Rody, and Kio says he feels the same way about Flit. However, this makes Wootbit more upset, so he knocks Kio to the floor and tells him not to expect special treatment from people.
Later, Kio is distracted during simulator practice because of what happened with Wootbit. Shanalua asks what’s wrong and says she doesn’t want a kid like Kio fighting. She says she may be strict, but she wants him to survive, and he asks what she’s talking about. She asks if he’s depressed, and he explains he was just thinking about something. A battle alert is then sounded after Jonathan discovers automatic turrets while on patrol. Flit asks Rody about the status of the Gundam’s new parts, and Rody tells him they’re under construction and won’t be ready yet. The Phantom 3 move in to attack with their Gomels, and Seric briefs the team that he, Jonathan and Derek will serve as decoys in the sky while Obright and Shanalua find and attack the drones. Seric then launches in his Clanche Custom, followed by Shanalua’s Clanche and Obright’s Genoace O-Custom. Kio asks Flit why they can’t fly, and Flit explains that they’ll be shot down by enemies they can’t find. Kio and Flit launch in the AGE-3 Normal, and Kio has trouble moving in the sand. Kio opens fire on the approaching Gomels, which jump out of the sand and attack. The Gomels perform the Delta Attack, in which they dive into the sand and move around the Gundam at high speeds to kick up a sandstorm. Kio tries to fly out of the sandstorm, but the Gomels push him down. They move in for the killing blow, but Kio undocks the Core Fighter from the G-Cepter to escape. They get knocked back down after re-docking, and Rody tells Flit that the new G-Hopper parts are ready. Flit tells him to send it out for midair conversion, and Rody decides to pilot it himself. Wootbit objects and says he’ll go because the other mechanics need Rody. Wootbit then launches in the G-Hopper and fires the SigMaxiss cannons to break up the sandstorm. The Gomels then turn their attention to the G-Hopper, but Shanalua provides covering fire. Kio undocks again and moves to dock with the G-Hopper, but the Gomels fire missiles that Flit blocks with the G-Cepter. The Core Fighter then docks with the G-Hopper to form the AGE-3 Fortress. The Gomels attack again from the sand, so Kio fires his SigMaxiss cannons. Kio recalls Shanalua’s advice and starts hovering above the sand so that the enemy can’t aim at him. He dodges their attacks and keeps track of their position, and he has an X-Rounder reaction before firing back. He has another reaction and fires point blank at Deymon’s Gomel, killing him. Kio then fires all four SigMaxiss cannons, which merge into one large beam and destroy all the automatic turrets. Wootbit tells Kio he’s not so bad and they should be friends. Later, Godom pours alcohol over Deymon’s gravestone and vows to get revenge. Kio tells Shanalua that he used her advice to defeat the Phantom 3, and she asks if killing someone made him happy. He says they’re the enemy, and she shouts that even the Vagans have families and that there’s nothing to be happy about in war. She walks off, and Seric explains that Shanalua lost her parents in war and has a sick little sister. Shanalua sends a text message on her phone and looks at a picture of her sister.
In a situation very similar to the original Gundam, the Diva travels through the desert on the way to not-Jaburo and comes under attack from elite pilots in new mobile suits. However, things are a little different here since the Vagans are making use of unmanned drones. While we saw some desert forces taking advantage of the sand in Gundam ZZ, this is the first time we’ve had transforming mobile suits designed specifically to move through sand. This makes things hard for Kio, until the new Fortress wear saves the day. Or rather, the combination of the Fortress and Shanalua’s advice on fighting. This episode introduces us to Arisa’s son Wootbit, who comes across as a complete ass and antagonizes Kio without provocation. He later comes around to liking Kio, but his bad attitude from the start has already soured me on him. I guess the Phantom 3 could be roughly compared to the Black Tri-Stars, but they don’t make much of an impression on me, and their signature attack also fails to take down the Gundam. In yet another too obvious nod to the original series, Wendy and the three kids are playing the role of a Fraw Bow and a White Base trio. But I see no reason why these kids are there and couldn’t have just been left at Olivernotes, or why even Wendy is there. Shanalua’s strong reaction to Kio at the end seems strange, and unfortunately the next episode preview completely spoils what is going on there. Otherwise, this was an average episode.