ZAFT commences with Operation Spear of Twilight and begins drop operations to attack the Alliance forces surrounding their Gibraltar and Carpentaria bases. ZAKU Warriors emerge from their drop capsules and come under attack from Jet Windams. At Orb’s military headquarters, Yuna is informed that the Minerva will soon be leaving their territorial waters. He wonders if all the necessary preparations are in place. As the Minerva leaves Orb’s waters, an Alliance naval fleet appears on the horizon. From behind, an Orb fleet also appears. Talia realizes that the point of their move is to prevent the Minerva from re-entering Orb’s waters. She issues a battle alert and addresses the crew. She tells them they have no choice but to attack the fleet if they wish to escape. She thinks it will probably be the crew’s toughest battle yet, but she has faith in the crew. Shinn asks Lunamaria why they’re in a battle alert, and she tells him she doesn’t know. Shinn launches in the Core Splendor and combines in the air as the Force Impulse. Rey and Lunamaria launch in their ZAKU units and stay on the ship’s deck to shoot down any approaching targets. The Alliance commander wonders if the Minerva will perform as well as Neo’s report suggests. A large squad of Jet Windams approach, and Shinn begins to attack and destroy them singlehandedly. The Alliance ships begin to bombard the Minerva, and the ship fires back and destroys several cruisers. Jet Windams attempt to approach the Minerva, but Lunamaria and Shinn continue to shoot them down. Nearby, Shinn fights off the other Windams by himself. Cagalli discovers that Yuna is at the military headquarters and wonders what he’s doing there. Along the shore, Kira and Lacus watch the battle. Kira tells Lacus that someone is crying again, and he wonders why.
Shinn continues to fight off the Windams while the Minerva shoots down the incoming missile barrages. Lunamaria can’t believe that even more Windams are approaching, and Rey tells her she doesn’t have time to complain. The Alliance commander is impressed by the Minerva, and he decides it is time to test the mobile armor Zamza-Zah before the Minerva is too weakened by the onslaught. The massive Zamza-Zah launches from one of the ships and heads directly towards the Minerva. Talia feels they can’t let the Zamza-Zah get near the ship, so she tells Arthur to shoot it with the Tannhauser. The Minerva fires its Tannhauser, but the Zamza-Zah creates a positron deflector shield and blocks the attack. Shinn then attacks the Zamza-Zah, but it dodges his attacks. Cagalli arrives at the military headquarters and sees on the video screen that the Minerva is under attack. Yuna orders the Orb fleet to fire warning shots and gives them permission to attack the Minerva if it enters Orb waters. Cagalli objects, and Yuna tells her to stop saying things motivated by sentimentalism. Orb fleet commander Todaka thinks it’s ungrateful to ally with the nation that attacked Orb before and to fire at the ship that tried to save the world. He defies Yuna’s orders and fires warning shots that don’t hit the ship. Despite the warning shots, Talia continues to move the ship towards Orb waters. Shinn dodges the Zamza-Zah’s attacks, but it manages to grab hold of him with one of its claws and pull him down. He runs out of power and Phase Shifts down. The Zamza-Zah rips off the Force Impulse’s right leg, sending Shinn into freefall. He thinks about his family and vows not to be defeated by the Zamza-Zah. He then goes into SEED mode and asks Meyrin to activate the Deuterion Energy Beam and send out the Sword Silhouette Flyer and Leg Flyer. The Deuterion Beam activates and recharges the Impulse Gundam’s power. Shinn then rushes the Zamza-Zah and slices into its cockpit with his beam saber. After destroying it, he docks with the new Leg Flyer and Sword Silhouette. He then destroys many ships, forcing the Alliance to retreat. At a PLANT, Athrun meets with Durandal and Meer. Durandal gives him the insignia for his special FAITH detachment and tells him to go help the Minerva. Athrun then suits up and launches in the Saviour Gundam.
The Minerva leaves Orb and receives a nice reception from the Alliance. While the Alliance could’ve certainly known about the Minerva being in Orb, I think Yuna sold them out as a goodwill gesture to the Atlantic Federation. Shinn certainly shows his skills in taking on a large number of Windams by himself. The Alliance still seems to like its mobile armors and sends out the monstrous Zamza-Zah, which is very reminiscent of the ugly mobile armors used by the Zeon in the original series. Not surprisingly, Shinn also possesses the SEED factor, and his first time using it is certainly more impressive than what Kira and Athrun did. Although the Minerva may have this small victory, the Alliance certainly won’t let them go so easily.