Heliopolis has been destroyed, and Kira in the Strike flung out into open space. The Archangel contacts him and asks him to return, but on the way back he discovers a damaged Heliopolis lifeboat and brings it back to the Archangel with him. Natarle objects, but Murrue overrules her and allows Strike to bring it aboard. One of the refugees in the life boat is Flay Allster, a friend of Sai. She recognizes Kira, and the two talk about what happened to Heliopolis. Murrue and Natarle decide to head towards Artemis, an asteroid base run by the Eurasian military. Although Eurasia is also part of the Earth Alliance, the Archangel and the Strike were created by the Atlantic Federation, and they're concerned that there may be friction between the two groups. Regardless, they launch a decoy suggesting that they're heading toward the Atlantic Federation HQ on the moon before proceeding stealthily toward Artemis. Rau is not fooled, however, and has the Vesalius and the Gamow set a course for Artemis as well.
While the Archangel crew processes the new refugees, Kira and his friends talk about their situation. Tolle points out that ZAFT is probably still hunting for them, and Flay is concerned that she's even less safe than she was when the lifeboat was drifting. Mu breaks up the conversation by showing up and telling Kira that he needs to do maintenance work on the Strike. Kira protests that it's not his responsibility, but Mu points out that if he doesn't, everyone on the Archangel — Kira, his friends, and innocent refugees included — are dead. Flay expresses disbelief that Kira could be the Strike's pilot; Kuzzey tells her it's because he's a Coordinator. Miraillia reassures Flay that he's their friend despite being a Coordinator, but Flay isn't entirely convinced.
On the Vesalius, Rau confronts Athrun over his behavior regarding the Strike. Athrun explains that its pilot, Kira, is an old friend of his, as they attended school together while living on the moon. Rau claims to understand completely, but decides to remove Athrun from the mission, to avoid forcing him to fight against his friend. Athrun protests, insisting that Kira is being manipulated by the Naturals, and he can make Kira see reason if he's allowed to speak with him. Rau presses him on what he'll do if Kira won't listen, and Athrun replies that if he's forced to, he'll shoot Kira down himself.
The Archangel detects the two ZAFT vessels pursuing them, and goes to battlestations. Miriallia remarks that they're simply sitting on the sidelines while Kira is doing his best to help; Tolle recalls part of Mu's peptalk to Kira about putting your abilities to good use. Miri, Tolle, Sai, and Kuzzey decide to volunteer to help out around the ship, and end up assigned as bridge crew. Mu launches in his Mobius Zero, while Kira attaches the Aile Striker (a high-mobility pack with a beam rifle, beam sabers, and a shield) and launches. Meanwhile, Athrun launches in the Aegis.
Tropes used in this episode:
- Bridge Bunnies: Kira's friends become them after volunteering to help out.
- Contrived Coincidence: Out of all the Heliopolis lifeboats, the one that happens to be both disabled and close to the Strike also just happens to be the one Flay is in?
- Dare to Be Badass: Mu's line about putting your abilities to good use is an example.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: Revealed to be how Kira and Athrun know each other.