A GINN Recon Type and a ZAKU Warrior search the area of space where the hijacked shuttle was reported to be. Inside, the soldiers only find the two pilots knocked out by Andy. In another part of space, Andy and Lacus board the Eternal, which is disguised as an asteroid. The search results are reported to Durandal, and he asks that the fake Lacus be found before she can cause any damage. Privately, Durandal believes it may be advantageous to have Lacus separated from Kira. Elsewhere, Sting and Auel play basketball on the deck of an Orb ship. Neo has a private video conference with Djibril, and Djibril tells him the loss of Stella couldn’t be avoided. However, he won’t accept failure, and he’s annoyed by how people have associated the Minerva as champion of justice and the symbol of ZAFT. He wants Neo to destroy the ship this next time for sure so they can move on to their next plan. Aboard the Minerva, Lunamaria hands in her spy report to Talia and asks if she can make some inquiries about the assignment. Talia agrees, and Lunamaria asks if Athrun is still under suspicion because of his actions in the last war. Talia says she believes Athrun is a good person and won’t betray them, but it’s the Archangel she’s not sure about. She says their motives were clear in the last war, but their actions in the present conflict have been strange. She asks Lunamaria if there’s anything more, and Lunamaria thinks about the Lacus revelation, but she says nothing. Shinn visits the infirmary and finds that Stella’s condition is deteriorating. He asks the doctor what’s wrong, and the doctor explains that because Stella’s body has been altered with drugs, she needs special treatments to keep her body functioning. Arthur asks Talia why they’re keeping Stella aboard, and Talia tells him they have orders from ZAFT to transport Stella and the Lodonia data to a research facility.
Aboard the Takemikazuchi, Neo reviews the battle plan with Yuna, Todaka and Amagi. Todaka has reservations about the validity of the info on the Minerva, but Yuna assures him it has been confirmed. Neo asks Yuna if the Archangel will be a problem, and Yuna says they just want to cause trouble with their fake Cagalli. Kira returns to the Archangel and brings Miriallia along with him. She jokes with Murdoch in the hangar and then accompanies Kira up to the bridge. Cagalli receives news that the Orb fleet plans to ambush the Minerva on its journey to Gibraltar by attacking them near Crete. A Murasame Recon Type examines the area above Crete and determines the Minerva‘s location. As Sting and Auel prepare to launch, Auel looks at the empty spot where the Gaia Gundam used to be and wonders what’s missing. The enemy fleet is detected by the Minerva, and Talia orders a battle alert. Auel tells Sting that he gets the feeling he’s forgetting something important, but he’s not sure what it is. The Orb fleet begins to launch its M1 Astray Shrikes and Murasames. Yuna orders Todaka to fire Type 8 incendiary shells at the Minerva. As the shells approach, Talia cancels the mobile suit launch sequence. The shells explode over the Minerva, and metal fragments punch through the ship’s hull. Shinn then launches in the Core Splendor and forms up to the Blast Impulse, followed by the launch of Athrun’s Saviour Gundam. Several more Orb ships appear and attack the Minerva. As Cagalli frets over the situation, Kira suggests that they go and stop the battle. Auel attacks Shinn with the Abyss Gundam‘s cannons, and Shinn returns fire while hovering over the water. In the air, Athrun and Sting exchange fire while Murasames attack the Minerva. Rey and Lunamaria launch and stay back to protect the ship. Elsewhere, the Archangel emerges from the sea and heads for Crete. Cagalli launches in the Aile Strike Rouge, followed by Kira in the Freedom Gundam.
Things start to pick up here with Djibril’s orders to Neo to finally destroy the Minerva. There’s a few other things going on here. During Neo and Djibril’s conversation, the specs for the Destroy Gundam are visible on one of Djibril’s monitors. Later, we see Durandal looking at the same specs. How would he get his hands on something that is presumably top secret? Miriallia rejoins the crew of the Archangel and makes a side comment that she dumped Dearka. That finally confirms that they did have a relationship after SEED, but obviously nothing more is known beyond that. The Archangel launches again to step into the battle between Orb and ZAFT, and I doubt they’ll be doing things any differently this time.