The damaged Vesalius arrives at the ZAFT homeland. Rau and his Number Two, Ades, chat as they dock. Ades asks if Rau plans to bring Athrun to the inquiry; Rau says that he does, as Athrun was both an eyewitness of the event and is capable of calm, objective analysis of events. Ades points out that Orb is bound to be furious over the destruction of Heliopolis, but Rau dismisses his concerns, telling him to focus on repairing and resupplying the Vesalius as quickly as possible.
The Archangel has escaped from Artemis and slipped away from the Gamow. Sai and Tolle attempt to convince Flay that she should apologize to Kira for causing him trouble by revealing that he's a Coordinator. She agrees, though reluctantly. Sai and Tolle also worry about the Archangel's position, as they were unable to resupply at Artemis.
Boarding a shuttle to the inquiry, Rau and Athrun encounter Patrick Zala, the head of ZAFT's military forces and Athrun's father. Patrick reminds both of them that his presence there is a secret, before discussing the report on the Heliopolis incident with Rau. Patrick says he agrees with most of Rau's report, but that he deleted the section on the Strike's pilot. He says that the knowledge of a Coordinator working for the enemy would only allow ZAFT's moderate faction to argue uselessly. Athrun does not look happy with this, but says nothing. Rau notices his reaction anyway, and asks if Athrun would prefer that a report labeling his friend as a traitor be released. Before he can reply, Patrick orders Athrun that he's not to contradict the report that the new Earth Alliance mobile suit surpasses everything ZAFT has... even with a Natural piloting it. Athrun says that he understands.
On the Archangel, the Heliopolis recruits struggle with water rationing on the ship. In the cafeteria, Sai nudges Flay to apologize to Kira. She does so, but Kira tells her not to worry about it. On the bridge, Murrue and the bridge crew are considering the options for their route to lunar orbit. The shortest route would take them through the debris belt, an area of densely accumulated space junk in low Earth orbit, making it a dangerous choice. Mu, however, says he has an idea.
On one of the PLANTs, Athrun and Rau see a news broadcast of Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne commemorating the one year anniversary of the Bloody Valentine tragedy. With him in the broadcast is his pink-haired daughter, Lacus. Rau observes that Athrun is engaged to Lacus, and that she'll be part of the Bloody Valentine memorial service. He remarks that the marriage between the children of the two leaders of ZAFT will be an inspiration to a new generation of Coordinators; Athrun thanks him for his well-wishes. At the ZAFT Supreme Council inquiry, Rau reports that the collapse of Heliopolis was not their intention, and blames it primarily on the Earth Alliance. Athrun gives a report on the capabilities of the Gundams. The council members argue that this is a sign that the Naturals plan to escalate the war and endanger the PLANTs, while Chairman Clyne tries to control them.
On the Archangel, Mu and Murrue explain to the crew that they plan is to take supplies from the debris belt. The crew is not enthusiastic about the idea. None the less, they launch in Mistral worker pods, with Kira in the Aile Strike as escort. They approach the ruins of Junius 7, shots of their horrified reactions to the carnage interspersed with shots of Patrick Zala's speech to the Supreme Council on the Bloody Valentine tragedy and flashbacks to the event itself. The nuclear missile hit the center of the PLANT's hourglass shape, causing the entire colony to break apart, killing exactly 243,721 people. The Heliopolis recruits search the ruins of Junius 7 for supplies, uncovering gruesome scenes while they work. Patrick Zala insists that their demands on the Earth Alliance are minor, and their actions are entirely in self-defense; Siegal Clyne just sighs resignedly.
After the Supreme Council meeting, Chairman Clyne encounters Athrun outside the council chamber. He notes the irony of Lacus being away when Athrun has returned to the PLANTs. As they talk, the two of them stand in front of what appears to be a fossil of a winged whale. Before Athrun can reply, Rau interrupts, telling him that two more mobile suit teams have been assigned to Rau's command, and they'll be leaving to pursue the Archangel. Patrick Zala approaches Chairman Clyne as Athrun and Rau leave. Clyne asks him what the point of expanding the war is; Zala replies that it is because the Earth Alliance cannot be forgiven for what they've done.
We're shown various scenes of daily life across the PLANT, in which Lacus features prominently, seen singing on various public TV screens. Athrun drives through the PLANT with Rau, dropping him off at a ZAFT facility before continuing on to visit his mother's grave. The song continues as the scene switches to the Archangel, with the Heliopolis recruits folding a large number of origami flowers (with the help of one of the Heliopolis refugee, a young girl). In the ruins of Junius 7, Miriallia releases the bundle of origami flowers, letting them drift into the space around the wreckage. The Archangel's bridge crew stands respectfully during the ceremony; Murrue is seen clutching a locket.
While the crew in the Mistrals are gathering water, Kira remains on watch for potential trouble. He spots what appears to be a damaged civilian vessel caught in the debris belt; soon after, a two-seater reconnaissance-type GINN appears near it. Kira prepares to destroy it before it can spot the Archangel, but holds his fire, hoping that it will leave on its own. It begins to leave the area, but notices Kuzzey's Mistral before it gets too far. It opens fire on Kuzzey, and Kira is forced to destroy it. Kuzzey thanks Kira, and Mu calls in to ask what happened, but Kira turns the radio off, shaking uncontrollably. He slams his controls in frustration, but before he can do anything else, an alarm sounds, showing a life pod floating nearby.
Kira returns to the Archangel with the pod, where Natarle remarks that he seems to have a habit of bringing things he finds back to the ship. The chief mechanic opens the pod; a pink Haro floats out, followed by none other than Lacus Clyne.
Tropes used in this episode:
- Asteroid Thicket: The debris belt. A more Justified example than most, as it's artificial rather than natural.
- Easy Logistics: Averted; failing to get resupplied at Artemis means the Archangel has to get more creative.
- Guy in Back: The recon GINN Kira destroys is explicitly a two-seater unit.
- Homage Shot: Lacus's exit from her escape pod at the end of this episode was a nod to Lalah Sune's exit from Char Aznable's shuttle in episode 34 of Mobile Suit Gundam.
- Nothing Is Scarier: What we're shown of Junius 7 is horrifying. What we don't see is is implied to be even worse!
- Scenery Gorn: Everything involved Junius 7, both the flashbacks of its destruction and its current condition.