The Minerva sails into Orb’s docking facility at Onogoro Island. Cagalli disembarks first, and a young man named Yuna Roma Seiran runs up to her and hugs her. His father Unato Ema Seiran tells him to control himself because he is startling the ZAFT officers. Talia and Arthur introduce themselves, and Unato thanks them for protecting Cagalli. Talia extends her sympathies to Orb for the damage caused by Junius Seven. Cagalli asks how bad the damage was, and Unato reports that although coastal areas were hit, the damage wasn’t as bad as in other countries. Unato tells Cagalli that he has important things to discuss with her, and Yuna walks off with her as if she were his girlfriend. When Athrun disembarks from the ship, Yuna thanks “Alex” for his help and dismisses him. From nearby, Murrue Ramius and Andy Waltfeld watch the situation. Murrue wonders what will happen because Unato is pretty sympathetic towards the Atlantic Federation. At Orb’s cabinet building, Unato informs Cagalli that they are considering the Atlantic Federation’s offer of an alliance. Cagalli can’t believe it, and Unato says that the Federation’s deal extends to all nations across the Earth and includes aid for devastated areas. Cagalli says that Durandal and the Minerva did the best they could to stop Junius Seven, and Unato shows her pictures of the GINNs setting the PLANT in motion. Yuna says that they can’t possibly extend that sentiment about ZAFT to millions of angry victims across the planet. Unato tells her she might not understand after being on a ZAFT ship, and he says that they have to consider whom they will share their pain with in the wake of this tragedy. After showering, Athrun gets into his car and drives off. At Morgenroete, Talia leaves Arthur and Abes in charge of repairs to the ship, and Arthur suggests they should get repairs at their Carpentaria base. Talia disagrees, and Murrue Ramius and Kojiro Murdoch walk in. Murrue offers that a ship’s safety and readiness are more important than its classified technology, and Talia agrees. Talia asks who she is, and Murrue introduces herself as “Maria Bernes.” Talia and Murrue discuss various things, and Talia asks if it’s the right time for Orb to be repairing a ZAFT ship. Murrue says it might be, but there’s no point worrying about the future.
In the crew lounge, Meyrin, Vino and Yolant discuss a rumor that the crew may be allowed to disembark for shore leave. Shinn lays on his bed looking at Maya’s cell phone when Rey comes in. Shinn asks Rey if they’ll be allowed to disembark, but Rey says he doesn’t know and goes off to take a shower. As Athrun drives along the coast, he stops when he spots Kira with Lacus and the orphans. The orphans run up to Athrun and ask him a load of questions about what he’s been doing. Athrun asks them about their house, and they tell him it was destroyed by a wave. Kira asks him where Cagalli is, and Athrun tells him that she’s busy at the administration building. Lacus tells them to go ahead without her, so they drive off. Athrun tells Kira about the things that Sato said to him in space. He recalls a conversation that he had with Kira and Dearka two years earlier about how they know what they’re fighting for. Kira had said they’d search for the answers together, and two years later Athrun still feels that he hasn’t found that answer. The next day, Cagalli takes a moment out of her busy schedule to speak with Athrun. She tells him she isn’t comfortable with Unato’s idea about “whom to share pain with,” which she views as basically a way of joining up with other countries that hate PLANT. Athrun tells Cagalli that he is heading back to space because he is worried about the situation in the PLANTs. He believes in Durandal, but he doesn’t want to sit around doing nothing. Lunamaria visits Shinn’s quarters, but he’s actually at the shooting gallery performing some target practice. Athrun tells Cagalli that he doesn’t approve of her and Yuna, so he gives her a ring. She’s embarrassed about the ring, but he kisses her before leaving on a Heli. Shinn returns to the place where his family was killed and finds that it’s now a park. He finds Kira standing next to a stone plaque and asks if it’s a memorial. Kira tells him he thinks it is, but he isn’t sure. Kira comments that the flowers were drenched in seawater and will wither away, and Shinn thinks that indicates that even if people plant beautiful flowers, other will come and destroy them. Lacus climbs up the side of the hill to join Kira, and Shinn apologizes for saying strange things and leaves. Athrun’s shuttle takes off and heads for space. Unato informs Cagalli that the Atlantic Federation and several other groups have made a list of demands for ZAFT. They warn that if the demands aren’t met, they will categorize ZAFT as a threat to humanity and use military force.
This episode is slower than most, but it has a few important events that set up the next arc. Although Orb defied the Earth Alliance in the first series, it appears that times have changed and this time they are siding with the Alliance. With the tragedy of Junius Seven, the world is firmly united against ZAFT. Talia meets her counterpart from the original series, and we see that Murrue is also using an alias, “Maria Bernes.” Murdoch and Waltfeld are also with her, and that’s not surprising. Murrue and the rest of the Archangel‘s crew are technically traitors, so they’d probably all be looking at executions if they were ever found by the Alliance. However, if all these people are living at Orb, does that mean that Orb has the Archangel itself hidden somewhere? If so, I can see that ship returning when the inevitable war begins. Shinn returns to the site of his family’s death for some closure and runs into none other than the person who accidentally killed them. Of course, at this point Shinn doesn’t know that Kira was the pilot of the Freedom Gundam, but that’s likely to change very soon.