The ''Archangel'' travels through the desert, flying between some cliffs before breaking out onto the coast of the Red Sea. The crew enjoys the view, and Murrue announces that she'll allow off-duty crew members to spend time on deck. Natarle checks with Murdoch on the progress on preparing the sonar. Murdoch reports back that "the kid" (meaning Kira) is almost finished with the final preparations. Natarle reminds him that Kira actually outranks him, and he should address him appropriately, making Murdoch react sheepishly. He relay Natarle's "hurry up" message to Kira, who replies that it's not that simple, since they're using ZAFT hardware, there's bound to be compatibility problems. Flay sits alone in Kira's bunk, looking unhappy.

That evening, the ''Archangel'' has landed on the beach while the crew celebrates with the Desert Dawn. Murrue, Natarle, and Mu raise a toast with Sahib (Natarle choking on the strong drink). Mu raises concerns to Sahib, saying that although they defeated the Tiger, the rebels still have to deal with ZAFT. Sahib says that they'll continue to fight anyone who threatens to oppress them. Sahib's son runs up and tells his father that it's time pay respects to their casualties. The rebels and their families gather, reading out the names of the dead and saluting them with a small cannon.

The next morning, Cagalli argues with Murrue, saying that Murrue has to take her on the ''Archangel'', as she has better information of the local area, and is better at securing supplies than they are. Although she doesn't intend to ride with them all the way to Alaska, and won't join the Earth Forces, she insists that they have to take her along because she'll be useful. Saying that she's already decided, she walks away without giving Murrue a chance to answer. Mu asks Kisaka, working nearby, just who Cagalli is, anyway. Kisaka declines to comment.

With the ''Archangel'' underway across the ocean, some of the crew, including Miriallia, Tolle, and Kuzzey, enjoy themselves on the top deck. Miri and Tolle are having a good time, but Kuzzey remarks that the ocean is sort of freaking him out, which Tolle observes must be because Kuzzey was born on Heliopolis, so it must be the first time he's been to sea. Miri playfully teases him about sea monsters, but Tolle tells her to stop. On the bridge, Kisaka talks to Murrue, saying that the ''Archangel'' is in a tough position, trying to reach Alaska without any resupply from the Earth Forces. He says that although they have enough food and water for the trip, they probably want to avoid combat as much as possible. Natarle argues that their plan to travel through the middle of the Indian Ocean is risky, as they'll have nowhere to go if something happens, but Kisaka insists that that's where ZAFT will have the smallest presence, which makes it the safest.

Kira goes out onto an outside deck by himself, sitting in the sun and thinking about Waltfeld, going over the conversations and the battles that they had in his mind. He also remembers [[Recap/GundamSeedEp21TheEndOfTheSandstorm Mu explaining what a berserker is]], which upsets him, but he tells himself that everyone is relying on him to fight and destroy their enemies. He remembers [[Recap/GundamSeedEp09TheFadingLight Flay freaking out as her father's ship is destroyed]], her [[Recap/GundamSeedEp10SeparateWays accusing him of not fighting as hard as he can because he's a Coordinator]], and [[Recap/GundamSeedEp13StarsRainingInSpace the refugee shuttle exploding during reentry]]. As he struggles with these thoughts, Cagalli comes out on deck and greets him cheerfully. She notices he's upset as she gets closer and, concerned, asks if he's been crying. He ignores her and starts to walk away, but she grabs him and tells him to wait. He gives her a DeathGlare and starts to leave again, but she runs in front of him and suddenly gives him a hug and tells him that everything will be okay. Flay, sitting in her bunk with Birdie, sighs to herself before getting up and leaving the room. Cagalli lets go of Kira and asks him if he feels any better. Noticing that Kira's blushing, she blushes herself, taking a step back and telling him not to get the wrong idea.

Flay wanders the ''Archangel''[='s=] halls, looking for something. Still on deck, Cagalli tells Kira that he's a strange guy, pointing out that the other day, [[Recap/GundamSeedEp18Payback he yelled at her and then slapped her]]. He apologizes, but she says she's not really angry, she just wonders why he's fighting for the Earth Forces if he's a Coordinator. He replies that he gets that a lot, remembering [[Recap/GundamSeedEp05PhaseShiftDown Athrun asking him the same thing]], [[Recap/GundamSeedEp06TheVanishingGundam the Eurasian officer in Artemis saying he's a traitor to his fellow Coordinators]], and [[Recap/GundamSeedEp19FangsOfTheEnemy Waltfeld saying he doesn't know Kira's reasons for fighting against his own people]]. Cagalli says whether people think it's weird isn't the point, it's that the war is happening because Coordinators and Naturals are bent on exterminating each other. She asks him how he feels about that. Kira turns the question around at her, and she says that her feelings about someone have nothing to do with whether they're a Natural or a Coordinator, but when someone attacks you, you have no choice but to defend yourself. Kira says he feels the same way. He says that there's no difference between Coordinators and everyone else, but Cagalli says that Coordinators can do way more stuff than Naturals can. Kira replies that Coordinators have to practice, study, and train to learn to do anything well, just like Naturals, and Cagalli changes her mind and decides that that does make them the same, then.

Kira says that although it's true that Coordinators have had their genes altered to enhance their abilities, he thought that everyone aspired to that, even Naturals. Flay approaches from inside, but hides when she notices that Kira is with Cagalli. She takes off her uniform jacket and ties up her undershirt to [[BareYourMidriff bare her midriff]] before stepping outside, doing a HairFlip and bending forward to show Kira her cleavage as she flirtily chastises him for not letting her know that he was coming up here to take a break. She pulls him to his feet and drapes herself over him, insisting that they go for a walk. Kira looks back at Cagalli apologetically, but her expression is flat. Flay says that the sun is nice, but they shouldn't stay out too long. She suggests that they go back to Kira's room, at which point Cagalli excuses herself and head inside.

Aboard a submarine, a ZAFT officer watches a message from Rau le Creuset, saying that he feels partly responsible for Andrew Waltfeld's death, as he was the one who let the ''Archangel'' land on Earth in the first place. He says that he'll be arriving on Earth soon for Operation Spit Break, so he hopes he can count on Commander Morassim's assistance against the ''Archangel''. Morassim shuts down message by punching the terminal, complaining about Creuset's nerve at sending him such a condescending message. He says that he'll use Rau's plan, but that ''he'll'' be the one to destroy the ''Archangel''.

In the ''Archangel''[='s=] CIC, three of the crew argue over the details of the sonar system. Natarle {{Face Palm}}s at them, but Miri chuckles at their conversation. However, Kuzzey picks up something on radar. They can't positively ID it, but it's travelling too fast for a civilian craft, so Murrue orders the crew to battle stations. Two flying ZAFT mobile suits, one of them piloted by Commander Morassim, approach the ''Archangel'' at high speed. Morassim orders the [=GOOhN=] team to launch, and two amphibious mobile suits launch from the ZAFT submarine. The ''Archangel'' identifies the two flying MS as [=DINN=]s, ZAFT's aerial combat model.

Murrue orders Kira and Mu to their machines, cutting Natarle off as she begins to protest. Although the Strike can neither fly nor swim, Murrue says they have to do something. The ''Archangel'' attacks the [=DINNs=] with missiles and point defense cannons, but they're able to dodge the fire. Mu takes off in the Launcher Grasper, and Cagalli tries to take out the second Skygrasper, but Murdoch tells her it's not repaired yet. Mu attacks Morassim, reasoning that the [=DINN=]s must be from ZAFT's Carpentaria base. The ''Archangel'' picks up the approaching [=GOOhN=]s on sonar, and the [=GOOhN=]s launch torpedos, forcing the ''Archangel'' to lift off out of the water.

The [=GOOhN=]s continue their attack by surfacing just long enough to fire and then diving again, while Kira takes pot shots with the Strike from on deck. He decides that fighting that way is useless, and tells Murdoch to equip the Strike with the bazooka they got in the supplies from the 8th Fleet so he can fight underwater. Equipped with the bazooka, he dives in and immediately starts taking a pounding from the far more maneuverable [=GOOhN=]s, who mock him for trying to fight underwater with a model designed for space use. They fire torpedos and repeatedly ram the Strike, but its phase shift armor holds up. Kira manages to grab on to one of the [=GOOhN=]s as it rams him, and stabs it with the Strike's combat knife. The hull breach causes the submarine-like [=GOOhN=] to implode from the depth pressure.

Above, Mu dogfights with Morassim, and the ''Archangel''[='s=] anti-air fire finally manages to destroy Morassim's partner. Morassim wonders what could be holding up the [=GOOhN=] team. The [=DINN=]'s wreckage begins to sink down toward the Strike as Kira tries to repeat his success against the second [=GOOhN=]. However, torpedo fire makes him drop the Strike's second knife, leaving him without an effective weapon. He's able to grab the rifle from the sinking [=DINN=] debris just before the [=GOOhN=] rams him again, and sinks the [=GOOhN=] with a few point-blank shots. Morassim sees the explosion from above, which distracts him long enough for Mu to damage his DINN, prompting him to retreat. Kira watches the sinking debris, thinking of Waltfeld and telling himself that he hates the situation he's in, but if he doesn't fight then everyone will be killed.

In space, Nichol says goodbye to his parents as he prepares to board the ''Vesalius''. He meets Athrun along the way, and thanks him for coming with him the other day. Athrun says that the concert was great, but Nichol says he saw Athrun sleeping. Athrun insists that he was [[BlatantLies just resting his eyes]]. Nichol says that he'd like to do a ''proper'' concert one day, and Athrun says that there will be plenty of time for that after Operation Spit Break. Nichol says that at least it was nice that they got an extended break at home, and the two of them discuss the fact that this will both be their first time on Earth as the ''Vesalius'' launches and leaves the dock.

!!Tropes used in this episode:

* ArtisticLicensePhysics: A hull breach would ''not'' cause the [=GOOhN=] to implode, even if they were at a depth where that was possible, which they weren't.
* CantHoldHisLiquor: A minor case, Natarle chokes on the celebratory toast with Sahib.
* CooldownHug: Cagalli gives Kira a slow-motion one. The kid was driving himself toward a HeroicBSOD and she short circuits the process with some well-timed emotional support.
* DueToTheDead: Desert Dawn mourn their losses. Combined with TheDeadHaveNames by reciting the name of each casualty as part of the ceremony.
* GeoEffects: The normally fairly nimble Strike is basically immobile underwater, at least compared to the aquatic [=GOOhN=]s.
* {{Tsundere}}: Cagalli will happily give you a hug unprompted if she thinks you need one! Just ''don't get any ideas, got it''?!