Kira has nightmare visions of being killed in battle by Yzak. As the Archangel drifts into the Debris Belt, Natarle yells at the engineering crew that they need to speed up repairs to the ship’s engines. Mu suggests that since they’re near the Debris Belt they might as well try to get supplies they need such as water an ammunition. Flay complains about not being able to take a shower and yells at Tolle when he suggests that she could go a week without a shower. She blames all their problems on Coordinators, and Sai and Tolle explain to her that Kira is a Coordinator and a good person. On the Vesalius, Athrun reports to Rau that Kira is his best friend and the pilot of the Strike Gundam. He apologizes for not mentioning it earlier, and Rau tells him they’re heading home to report to the Supreme Council about Heliopolis. Rau asks Athrun to keep Kira out of his report because the fact that a Coordinator is fighting for the Alliance is controversial. While working on the Strike Gundam, Kira thinks about his encounter with Athrun. Mu finds Kira and tells him that as a pilot he needs to eat more. Miriallia acquires a bucket of water so that she and Flay can take a bath. As they bathe, Kuzzey and Tolle peep in while Sai acts as the lookout. Miriallia hears noises and throws the bucket of water out the door, soaking Mu as he walks by. On the bridge, Natarle yells at Mu, Kira, Sai, Tolle and Kuzzey for being perverts. Her lecture ends when the Archangel approaches the ruins of the PLANT Junius Seven.
After some discussion, Kira objects to getting supplies from Junius Seven and equates it to grave robbing. Mu explains that sometimes you have to do dirty things to stay alive. Murrue assures Kira that they’ll only be getting as much water and spare parts as they need to survive. At the PLANTS, Athrun runs into his father, National Defense Chairman Athrun Zala. He accidentally greets Patrick informally at first, and Rau finds it strange that they act as strangers in public. Rau makes his report to the Supreme Council and makes it clear that ZAFT is not at fault. Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne can’t believe that Orb is violating its neutrality by developing mobile suits for the Earth Alliance. Patrick makes a fiery speech that they all wish to live in peace but have to fight to protect that peace. He tells the other Council members that they can never forget the Bloody Valentine tragedy of Junius Seven. Natarle, Sai, Miriallia, Kuzzey and Tolle explore Junius Seven while Kira guards the area in the Strike Gundam. Kuzzey and Tolle find a room filled with corpses trying to reach a door, and Miriallia finds a room where people committed suicide after running out of supplies. Kira spots the civilian shuttle Silverwind along with the female pilot of a GINN Long Range Reconnaissance Type. Sai suddenly reveals himself while piloting a Mistral, forcing Kira to destroy the GINN. Kira picks up a life pod floating in space and brings it back to the ship. Natarle comments that he’s making a habit out of bringing in life pods.
The life pod opens, revealing that the passengers are Siegel’s daughter Lacus and her pet robot Haro. Kira escorts Lacus to a room and tells her not to leave it because many people on the ship probably aren’t comfortable around a Coordinator. Lacus tells Kira he’s nice, and when he says it’s because he’s a Coordinator too, Lacus says it’s because he’s a good person. On the bridge, Mu, Murrue and Natarle argue about Lacus’ story that the Alliance attacked the Silverwind. The Archangel receives a distress call from the 8th Fleet’s reconnaissance group. Sai recognizes the voice in the call as Flay’s father, Vice Minister George Allster. Flay begs Kira to save her father, and he promises everything will be fine. Athrun is joined by several GINNs in battle as they destroy the Montgomery‘s escort ships. Upon reaching the battlefield, Mu orders Kira to fall back and defend the Archangel. Kira instead moves forward and is entangled with Athrun in battle. Athrun asks Kira why he’s with the Alliance, and Kira asks Athrun why he’s a soldier at all when he supposedly hated war. Flay drags Lacus to the bridge and threatens to kill her if ZAFT doesn’t stop attacking the Montgomery. Right before her eyes, the Montgomery is suddenly destroyed. The Vesalius emerges from behind a wrecked ship to attack the Archangel. Natarle calls Rau and offers to return Lacus in exchange for a temporary cease fire. Kira returns to the ship, and Flay yells at him for not fighting well enough to keep his promise. He escorts Lacus out into space where Athrun is waiting. Athrun asks Kira to come with him, but Kira says he has to protect his friends. Athrun vows to kill Kira in their next encounter, and Kira vows the same to Athrun.
As the Archangel approaches the 8th Fleet, Mu thanks Kira for his work up to now in piloting the Strike Gundam. Admiral Lewis Halberton tells Murrue that Orb is demanding the return of the refugees they have classified as kidnapped. Halberton says that they’re likely under pressure from ZAFT. He then tells Murrue that her orders are to take the Archangel to Alaska so that the development of the G-series can continue. Rau and Ades examine the layout of the 8th Fleet, and Rau determines that the Archangel will probably attempt to go to Earth. With an enlarged fleet, Rau decides to attack before that can happen. Natarle gives discharge papers to Sai, Miriallia, Tolle and Kuzzey. She explains that they were retroactively enlisted because it is illegal for civilians to be a part of military operations. Flay steps in and says she wants to enlist because she feels they have to fight for peace. A young girl gives Kira an origami flower as thanks for protecting all the refugees. The ZAFT fleet attacks, and the Archangel launches a the civilian shuttle. As the fleet is destroyed, Mu asks for permission for himself and Kira to launch. Upon launching, Mu faces off against Dearka in the atmosphere. Yzak thinks the shuttle is a decoy and goes after it, but he is attacked by Kira. Kira damages the Duel Gundam, and an explosion in the cockpit injures Yzak’s face. As the two continue to fight, Yzak blasts the shuttle when it gets in his way during atmospheric re-entry.
As the Archangel descends, Murrue adjusts the ship’s course so that Kira isn’t separated from them. Kira lands on the ship’s deck, but because the re-entry angle changed, they are no longer on course for Alaska. In the North African desert, Cagalli and Desert Dawn rebel leader Sahib Ashman watch the Archangel. Sahib wonders if the Archangel will help them fight ZAFT, and Cagalli says if they don’t, they’ll have to destroy them. Kira wakes up in his bed, and Flay tells him he’s been asleep for three days. She then apologizes to Kira for the way she’s treated him and gives him the origami flower. Kira cries over not being able to save the little girl, and Flay begins to kiss him. Mu talks with Murdoch about the Sky Grasper and is called to the bridge. Mu and Murrue go outside and meet with Sahib. Sahib explains that he sees the Alliance as no different from ZAFT, but he is willing to work with them if they intend to fight ZAFT. Murrue says they want to go to Alaska, and Sahib tells her they’ll have to fight ZAFT to get out of Africa or be destroyed. Nearby, ZAFT officer Martin DaCosta watches the Archangel and decides to attack it and test its abilities. Sai sees Flay kissing Kira in the hallway and asks what’s going on. He grabs Flay by the arm when she says it’s none of his business, and Kira grabs Sai and says Flay is the only one who cared about his feelings during battle. As two dog-like BuCUE units attack, Kira demands to launch and fight them. Although he is unaccustomed to desert fighting, he quickly re-calibrates the OS to compensate for sinking sands. He then uses the Launcher‘s “Agni” cannon to destroy both BuCUEs. On the Lesseps, DaCosta reports to Andrew “Andy” Waltfeld and apologizes for losing two BuCUEs. Andy’s girlfriend Aisha comments that Andy looks happy, and he says he now has an opportunity to test the LaGOWE against a worthy opponent.
When Kira returns from battle, Cagalli recognizes him and asks him why he’s become a pilot. Kira answers that he had no choice because of the situation. Murrue speaks with Cagalli’s bodyguard Ledonir Kisaka about their lack of supplies, and Kisaka has an idea. Kira and Cagalli are sent to the city of Banadiya to get supplies. They stop to eat kebabs at a sidewalk restaurant and don’t realize that Andy is sitting behind them. Blue Cosmos terrorists attack, and Andy kicks up his table and spills sauce all over Cagalli. Kira knocks Cagalli aside and throws a sauce bottle at an attacker, saving Andy’s life. Andy reveals himself as the “Desert Tiger” and insists that they come to his headquarters so that Cagalli can clean up. While Aisha cleans up Cagalli, Andy offers some coffee to Kira. He tells Kira that based on his abilities he knows he’s the pilot of the Strike Gundam. Aisha brings Cagalli into the room, and Kira is surprised by how Cagalli looks in a dress. Andy pulls a gun on Kira and asks him how he plans to end the war. He tells Kira that he doesn’t plan on him killing him today, but the next time they meet it will be as enemies. At ZAFT’s Gibraltar base, Rau orders Dearka and Yzak to join with the Waltfeld team and assist with the attack on the Archangel. Yzak is happy because he can use his upgraded Duel Gundam Assault Shroud and get revenge for the scar Kira gave him.
The second volume of the SEED manga adaptation brings us close to the end of the desert arc. As an adaptation, it compresses many events from the TV series and changes the order of some events. This is a good thing. The Archangel‘s time in space is decreased. Instead of violating rules to return Lacus, Kira does so under orders. Instead of Yzak being scarred earlier, the even occurs in the atmospheric battle when he destroys the shuttle. When the Archangel lands in North Africa, it’s now DaCosta who first attacks the ship instead of Andy. The overlong desert arc itself is cut down to that first encounter, the encounter in the city and presumably the final battle in the next volume. Overall, this volume cuts out a lot of the slow-moving and unnecessary elements from the TV series and presents a leaner story. Aside from the shojo-type art, it’s a nice package.