The Alliance and ZAFT wage a mobile suit and ship battle in Earth’s orbit. In his mansion, Djibril speaks to President Copland and complains about the current situation of the war. He then decides that Orb should help the Alliance in driving ZAFT out of the Black Sea. At Orb’s military headquarters, Yuna informs Todaka that they will be sending an expeditionary force to the Black Sea, and that he will be going as the force’s commander. Aboard the John Paul Jones, Neo hears a commotion coming from the living CPUs’ regeneration chamber. Stella doesn’t want anyone to take away the handkerchief that Shinn used to tend her wound, and Neo assures her no one will take a precious item from her. Neo wonders if people are happier with memories or without, because whatever happened in Diocuia clearly had an impact on Stella. The technicians believe that fighting machines don’t need memories to get in the way. At the ZAFT base in Diocuia, Heine’s GOUF Ignited is loaded onto the Minerva. Aves hands out technical manuals to Yolant and Vino to read up on the new suit. Athrun escorts Heine to the mess hall to introduce him to the other pilots. Heine comments that the Minerva is an impressive ship and different from a Nazca class cruiser. Lunamaria asks him if he served aboard one, and he answers that he’s been stationed at headquarters but took part in the first battle of the new war. He asks Lunamaria to drop the formalities and address him by his first name. He believes that whether someone is in FAITH, or wears a red or green uniform, all ZAFT pilots are equals and should work together as friends. He teases Athrun for having everyone refer to him as Commander, and Athrun wishes he could be more like Heine. In the southern part of Africa, the Orb fleet led by the carrier Takemikazuchi crosses the Cape of Good Hope. While Yuna vomits into a bucket from seasickness, Todaka and his first officer Amagi debate the current situation. Todaka believes that the ideals of Orb will be protected by Cagalli and the Archangel. On the John Paul Jones, Neo reads his new orders which command him to use the Orb fleet to take back the Black Sea area. Stella wakes up from her regeneration and memory wipe and wonders what the handkerchief she’s holding is.
As the Orb fleet reaches its destination, a photographer takes pictures of the fleet. Miriallia meets with a source in a bar and finds out that the Orb fleet will be backing up the Alliance. On the Minerva, Talia briefs Arthur, Athrun and Heine about the current situation. She says that the Minerva and all neighboring ZAFT forces have been ordered to attack the Alliance in the area of the Sea of Marmara, and her plan is to go through the Dardanelles channel and attack from there. Arthur begins preparations for launch, and Talia tells Athrun that Orb is reinforcing the Alliance. She says there will be no way to avoid having to fight them, but he says he’s okay with that. The next morning, the ship leaves port and heads for the Dardanelles. While eating in the mess hall, Lunamaria tells Shinn the news about Orb. Athrun stands outside on an observation deck and is joined by Heine. Heine sees that Athrun doesn’t want to fight Orb and asks him which country he’d like to fight. He tells Athrun that he has to remove all hesitation or die. Yuna meets with Neo and suggests a plan to take out all the ZAFT forces as they travel through the channel. Athrun and Shinn suit up in their normal suits, and Athrun asks Shinn what’s wrong. Athrun comments that maybe the current situation wouldn’t have happened if Cagalli was in Orb. Shinn doesn’t think someone who acts on emotions can lead a country. Athrun thinks that Shinn really does like Orb and that he’s angry because of the current situation. As the Orb fleet approaches, Talia orders the Impulse Gundam and Saviour Gundam to launch. Shinn launches in the Core Splendor, followed by Athrun in the Saviour Gundam. Shinn combines with the other flyers into the Force Impulse just before the Orb fleet attacks. Shinn destroys several Murasames and M1 Astrays, and Yuna orders Todaka to launch all the mobile suits to destroy Shinn and Athrun. Talia orders Arthur to turn the ship around so that they can destroy the entire Orb fleet with the Tannhauser. The Tannhauser charges up and is destroyed by a beam rifle blast just before it was about to fire. Everyone searches the skies to see who was responsible. Shinn and Athrun are shocked to see the Freedom Gundam descend from the skies above.
Things are certainly heating up now that the war has turned into another stalemate. Djibril isn’t happy with the current situation and decides to use Orb to take care of his problems in the Black Sea. Of course, Yuna gladly agrees to help because he doesn’t really have much choice in the matter. This situation forces Athrun to fight against Orb now, and Shinn stews over his anger about Orb. Throughout all this, Heine is a bright spot with his carefree attitude. The end of this episode shows the beginning of the battle, and if you watch closely you can see a very visible animation blooper where the Force Impulse Gundam turns into the Aile Strike Gundam for one shot. That sort of lazy animation is annoying. Kira makes a surprise appearance at the end of the episode via that overused stock footage of the Freedom Gundam flying out of the sun. With the Tannhauser destroyed, the Minerva is certainly in a pinch now against the Orb and Alliance fleet.