Gathering their forces in the Mediterranean Sea, the Earth Alliance and Orb Union fleets launch a second attack on the Minerva, and this time not even the Archangel's intervention can halt the fighting. While Shinn unleashes his anger against the Orb fleet, Kira and Athrun confront each another in battle, and one of these lifelong friends falls in defeat. Back in the PLANT homeland, Chairman Durandal thinks back on his past and considers his plans for the future... plans which will require the removal of disruptive elements like Lacus and the Archangel crew. In the aftermath of the battle, Shinn reaches a fateful ecision. Stella, the enemy pilot he once promised to protect, is now a captive aboard the Minerva. Stella's physical condition is rapidly deteriorating, and Shinn will have to betray everything he believes in order to save her life.