At Morgenroete, Erica tells Rondo about the Gigafloat project, and he isn’t pleased to hear about the mass driver. He says that with mass drivers being destroyed in battles, Orb’s mass drivers are now a premium commodity. He tells Erica that he is going out with the upgraded Gold Frame Amatsu, which is only 70 percent complete. At the Gigafloat site, Lowe uses the Red Frame to assist in the construction. Kisato is amazed that they’ve built so much, but Lowe tells her they need to stabilize the core to prevent it from coming apart. Elsewhere, Reed informs the other members of Serpent Tail that Lowe and Malchio are helping build the Gigafloat. Gai says that he’ll head out to the Gigafloat once he completes his work on the Blue Frame‘s scale system. The Gigafloat is rocked by an explosion, and Lowe sees that the culprit is the Gold Frame Amatsu. Lowe sees the Gold Frame Amatsu still has no right arm, so he attacks the weak spot and is knocked away. A right arm suddenly appears, and Rondo explains that it was salvaged from the destroyed Blitz Gundam. Rondo then activates the Mirage Colloid and vanishes. He attacks Lowe from various directions and grabs him from behind. Rondo knocks Lowe down and is disappointed that Lowe went down so quickly. He prepares to kill Lowe with his “Trikeros” beam rifle, but Kisato jumps onto Red Frame’s cockpit and begs Rondo to stop. Suddenly, an energy blast comes out of the water and knocks Rondo into the sea. He spots Gai’s Blue Frame, which has been equipped with a scale system. Gai fires torpedoes at Rondo, and Rondo realizes he is at a disadvantage because he can’t use the Mirage Colloid underwater. With his mission to damage the Gigafloat accomplished, Rondo escapes. Kisato wakes Lowe up, and he acts quickly to help save the Gigafloat. Lowe works with the other mobile suit pilots to stabilize the Gigafloat’s core and falls into the water from exhaustion. Gai pulls him out of the water with Blue Frame, but 8 is washed away.
On a small island, a young girl finds 8 washed up along a beach shore. The young girl and several other children play with 8 and run over to an area where an Alliance officer is forcing men to work in a mine. The girl uses 8 to electrocute the officer, and he chases them across the island. The young girl places 8 inside the cockpit of an old GINN, and 8 activates the mobile suit and chases away the officer. Later, the young girl falls asleep and Lowe arrives on the island to pick up 8. At the Gigafloat, Malchio and the Serpent Tail crew say goodbye as Lowe and Kisato’s shuttle takes off into space. Malchio thanks Gai for protecting the Gigafloat, and Gai says he was just doing his job. Reed and Elijah say that ZAFT could target the Gigafloat, but Malchio assures them it will be constantly moving. Lowe and Kisato meet up with Liam and the Professor to see their new ship, the Re.H.O.M.E. Kisato is amazed by the size of the ship, and the Professor says they’ve prepared a surprise. At Orb’s space station Ame-no-Mihashira, Rondo plots his next move. Although Uzumi Nara Athha is dead, Cagalli poses a problem for Rondo’s plan to rule Orb. He debates with someone whether he should attack ZAFT or the Alliance, and he decides to attack ZAFT first because Blue Cosmos leader Multa Azrael gave him a Sword Calamity unit along with a pilot. On the Re.H.O.M.E.‘s bridge, the Professor introduces Kisato to the ship’s captain: George Glenn. Lowe wonders how that can be if George has been dead for several decades, and the Professor explains that the GG unit they acquired contained George’s brain. She extracted the memory engrams and created a holographic version of George. The ship takes off, and Kisato is shocked by how corny George is. Lowe asks George what he thinks about the war, and George asks Lowe for his opinion. Lowe explains that he doesn’t mind the existence of weapons as long as they’re used to protect people instead of just for pointless destruction. George explains that Coordinators had a special purpose, which was to coordinate the natural evolution of Naturals. However, things didn’t turn out that way and George feels that he made mistake.
Elsewhere, the Laurasia class ship Amzen is destroyed by an unidentified foe. The commander of the ZAFT fleet orders all ships and mobile suits to retreat. A GuAIZ is captured by Rondo’s Gold Frame Amatsu. Rondo uses his Maga-no-Ikutachi claws to destroy the GuAIZ’s head and then destroy the mobile suit. Rondo spots several escape pods from the destroyed ZAFT ships and destroys them. The Re.H.O.M.E. picks up the ZAFT distress call from nearby and moves in to investigate. Kisato begs Lowe not to fight the Gold Frame Amatsu, but Lowe tells her his mind is made up. Lowe launches in the Red Frame, and Rondo is surprised that Lowe is back in space. Elsewhere, Elijah informs Gai about a transmission from one of their informants. Lowe asks Rondo why he wants to destroy things, and Rondo says it that people exist to sacrifice themselves for the ambitions of those in power. Rondo says he will construct a new world, and Lowe tells him all he will create is fear. He says people have to work together, and Rondo calls him a fool. Rondo then activates his Mirage Colloid and sneaks behind Lowe. He attacks Lowe with the Maga-no-Ikutachi and begins to suck power out of the Red Frame. George moves the Re.H.O.M.E. in closer to help Lowe, and Rondo fires missiles at the ship. Lowe breaks free and attacks with his Gerbera Straight, but Rondo blocks with the Trikeros and breaks the sword in two. Kisato wants to help Lowe and launches in the BuCUE, which George is controlling remotely. She smashes into the Gold Frame Amatsu, but Rondo knocks her away. Suddenly, Gai appears with the Blue Frame Second L and joins Lowe. He unfolds the Tactical Arms backpack and gives it to Lowe in its sword mode. Lowe asks Rondo to stop because Gundams aren’t made for destruction, and Rondo again calls him a fool. Lowe slashes at the Gold Frame Amatsu’s right arm and disables it. He tells Rondo to think about what he said and flies off with Kisato. Rondo chases after him, but Gai appears from behind and stabs Rondo’s cockpit with a combat knife.
Gai decides to leave when the Orb battleship Izumo approaches. A Sword Calamity piloted by Four Socius retrieves the damaged Gold Frame Amatsu. Aboard the Izumo, Rondo’s twin sister Rondo Mina Sahaku mourns her brother’s death and vows to carry on with his plans to rule the world. Later, the Re.H.O.M.E. receives a new job to fix a mobile suit at the Mendel colony. Kisato is worried because there was an incident on Mendel involving biological weapons, but Liam assures her that the colony has been decontaminated. Lowe launches in the Red Frame, followed by Kisato and Liam in the BuCUE. They explore the colony and are confronted by a GOOhN Underground Test Type piloted by Diller Rojo. Diller thanks them for coming out to fix his GOOhN’s malfunctioning scale system. They ask him what he’s doing, and he explains he’s on a job from PLANT to find George Glenn’s DNA samples. Kisato tells Diller they have such samples on their ship, but Diller says he’d rather search for things on his own. Lowe agrees with Diller’s attitude and wishes him well on his search.
Five months earlier, Rau Le Creuset’s battleship Vesalius searches for the culprit behind the destruction of ZAFT supply stations. GINN pilot Miguel Aiman spots the culprit, who is actually Gai in his custom GINN. Athrun watches the fight and concludes that they can’t find the enemy mother ship because Gai’s custom GINN is equipped with a large fuel tank. Gai and Miguel run out of ammunition and fight each other with melee weapons. Miguel stabs Gai’s torso with his sword, but Gai manages to cut off Miguel’s right arm. Gai flies towards the space station and ejects just before his GINN crashes into the station and destroys it. Miguel isn’t happy about the battle, but Rau tells him they’ve accomplished their mission. Later, Rau hears about a secret Alliance mobile suit project on Orb’s space colony Heliopolis. He tells Miguel he’ll have to use a regular GINN for the assault. Elsewhere, Erica secretly contacts the Professor and tells her she wants to save the Astray prototypes. A mysterious man hires Gai to destroy the Astray units and any evidence of their existence.
This volume wraps up most of Lowe’s story and ends with an interesting prequel covering the events immediately preceding the SEED TV series. In the prequel story, Miguel holds his own against Gai, and one wonders how well he would have fared against Kira if he were using his custom GINN. The scheming Rondo reappears with his upgraded Gold Frame Amatsu, but he meets a bad end and is replaced by his scheming twin sister. I feel the need to note that I’m quite disappointed with TOKYOPOP’s release of this series. Aside from magically creating Coordinator telepathic abilities, they frequently misidentify Rondo Ghina Sahaku as a woman. They also misidentify the Izumo as its sister ship the Kusanagi. These mistakes would be acceptable in a fan scanlation, but this is unacceptable in a professional American publication. TOKYOPOP would do well to take more time quality checking ASTRAY R and any other series they release in the future.