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The Battle of Orb is a conflict of the First Alliance-PLANT War, featured in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED.

Prelude

Having lost their last Mass Driver during the Battle of Porta Panama,[1] the Earth Alliance was desperate to obtain a new one and re-establish their supply route into space. While the bulk of the EA’s resources were focused into planning the recapture of Victoria Base, Muruta Azrael, leader of Blue Cosmos, recommended that they obtain use of the Orb Union’s Kaguya Mass Driver. While the EA had made several requests for Orb’s assistance, Lord Uzumi Nara Athha persisted that the nation would maintain its neutrality, and not enter the conflict on either the Earth Alliance or the PLANT’s side. Proclaiming Orb’s stance to be fallacious, Azrael decreed that as a nation of Earth, Orb should be obligated to cooperate with the EA to fight against “humanity’s enemy” (Coordinators). Azrael offered to lead the negotiations with Orb, and, expecting a potential battle, took the EA’s new second-generation G Project Gundams.[2]

On approach to the Orb Union, Azrael sent an advanced notice: “Final Warning: The Orb Union has not considered the present state of the world, and has abandoned its responsibilities as a nation on Earth, showing concern only for its own peace. Furthermore, the nation has continued to refuse repeated requests for cooperation. On behalf of all participating nations, the Earth Alliance demands the following from the Orb Union. One, the immediate mass resignation of the Orb Union’s present ruling government. Two, disarmament and dissolution of its national army. Should these demands not be met within 48 hours, the Earth Alliance will consider the Orb Union to be a supporter of ZAFT, and confront the nation with force.[2]

Uzumi was furious with Azrael’s ultimatum, deeming it to be an absolute farce, knowing that he and the Atlantic Federation were behind this action and that their true goals were to acquire Orb’s Mass Driver and the Morgenroete facility. Although aware that the Equatorial Union and the Kingdom of Scandinavia had recently forfeited their neutrality out of fear of being destroyed by the EA, and that ZAFT, having received word of the EA’s impending action, was requesting a meeting to have Orb join them, Uzumi refused to sacrifice Orb’s beliefs merely to fight against someone else’s enemy. A choice he knew, that if made, would eventually lead to the nation’s destruction regardless.[2]

Having refused the EA’s demands, Orb used the time remaining to prepare their military forces for the coming conflict, with both Murrue Ramius and Kira Yamato offering to assist in Orb's defense with the Archangel and Freedom Gundam, respectively. Knowing that a battle was unavoidable, orders were given to evacuate the nation’s civilian populace. Murrue also allowed any of the Archangel’s crew to disembark should they not want to participate in the coming conflict.

The Battle

Day One

Just as the time limit ended, the EA naval fleet fired a missile barrage from their Arkansas-class and Des Moines-class cruisers. In response to the attack, Orb naval forces intercepted the missiles, and began deploying their mobile suit forces. On land, several MBF-M1 M1 Astrays, Linear Gun Tanks, and stationary defenses began intercepting the continuous missile fire, while the Archangel and several Kuraomikami-class and Aegis-class battleships engaged the EA naval vessels. After the initial attack, Spengler-class carriers and Large Transport Aircraft began deploying their GAT-01 Strike Dagger mobile suits onto Orb’s territory. Onboard the Archangel, Kira launched in his ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam, and Mu La Flaga launched in the GAT-X105+AQM/E-YM1 Perfect Strike Gundam. Onboard the Spengler-class vessel "Powell", Orga Sabnak, Shani Andras, and Clotho Buer launched in their respective machines, the GAT-X131 Calamity Gundam, the GAT-X252 Forbidden Gundam, and the GAT-X370 Raider Gundam.

On land, Orb’s M1 Astrays engaged the attacking Strike Daggers. One Astray, piloted by Juri Wu Nien, was hit by a charging Strike Dagger and knocked over. But, before the mobile suit could shoot her with its beam rifle, it was destroyed by the intervention of Mayura Labatt. Nearby, Asagi Caldwell was engaged in close combat with a Strike Dagger, however, following a full-burst attack from the Freedom that quickly disabled five close by Strike Daggers, Asagi’s attacker was quickly disabled when Kira disarmed it, and another Strike Dagger with his beam sabers, a feat that momentarily stunned the Astray pilots in amazement. Elsewhere, Mu destroyed three Strike Daggers with a shot from the Perfect Strike’s “Agni” beam cannon. The Archangel, after destroying two F-7D Spearhead fighters with its Linear Cannons, was forced to evade an incoming attack from the Calamity Gundam. While the Calamity’s attack missed the Archangel, it struck and sank a nearby Kuraomikami-class. The Calamity then disembarked from the Raider Gundam, while the Raider went to attack the Archangel. However, the Raider was intercepted by the Freedom Gundam before it could make contact and was kicked into the ocean. Nearby, the Forbidden Gundam landed on top of a Kuraomikami-class, and swiftly sliced off its bridge with its “Nidhoggr” Heavy Scythe, destroying the cruiser. On land, the Calamity had destroyed several defending M1 Astrays, before being engaged in combat by the Perfect Strike Gundam.

Near the Morgenroete Headquarters, Dearka Elsman, who had been set free from being a POW on the Archangel, saw that the ship was under attack. Worried about Miriallia Haw, the one person on the ship who showed concern for him, Dearka raced into the facility to reclaim his GAT-X103 Buster Gundam. While the Archangel was fending off several F-7D Spearheads, Dearka entered the battle to provide support for the ship, firing the Buster’s beam rifle and missile pods to destroy the attacking fighters, followed by telling the Archangel to move from its current position. Whilst Kira was in combat against the Raider and Forbidden, he was momentarily shocked by the Forbidden's ability to curve the beams of the Freedom’s “Balaena” Plasma Beam Cannons. During his hesitation, the Calamity had joined in and Kira had begun fighting all three of the EA’s Gundams. Just as he was about to be overwhelmed, the ZGMF-X09A Justice Gundam, piloted by Athrun Zala, intercepted an attack by the Raider, saving the Freedom.[2]

As the battle raged on, the Archangel fired “Helldart” air-to-air missiles to intercept a barrage targeting Orb’s defense emplacements. However, while many of the missiles were destroyed, several others survived and demolished one of the defense stations. Elsewhere, Asagi was being pushed back against a Strike Dagger. Before the enemy mobile suit could hit her with its beam saber, its right arm was shot off by Mayura, who then destroyed the machine with a shot through the Strike Dagger’s cockpit. Nearby, Juri was engaging a Strike Dagger in close combat and was quickly able to destroy the machine with a direct strike at the cockpit with her beam saber. However, at that point, the EA forces had broken through Orb’s secondary defensive line.[2] Meanwhile, Athrun made contact with Kira, who asked Athrun whether ZAFT was interfering with the battle. Athrun responded that he was acting independently of ZAFT and participating in the battle of his own choice. The Freedom and Justice engaged the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider, and the five Gundams became locked in a stalemate. However, because of the Freedom and Justice’s higher performance, Kira and Athrun’s excellent cooperation, and the EA Gundam’s dysfunctional teamwork, the battle was slowly shifting in Kira and Athrun’s favor.

With the Freedom and Justice fighting the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider, the Archangel engaging the EA’s naval vessels, and the Perfect Strike, Buster and M1 Astrays engaging the Strike Daggers, the EA’s advance began to halt. While Orga, Shani, and Clotho continued to squabble with each other, the three pilots started to feel withdrawal pain from their lack of Gamma Glipheptin (their combat enhancing drug) and retreated back to the Powell. After the Gundams returned, Azrael ordered all forces to temporarily withdraw, knowing that the Strike Daggers alone were not enough to take control of Orb. After receiving the retreat signal, all EA forces retreated.[3]

Reprieve

Following the retreat order, Orb forces began to assess the damage and reorganize their remaining forces for the later phase of the conflict. During the interim, Kira and Athrun met face-to-face. After returning to the Morgenroete facility, the two discussed the situation facing Orb, and reconciled their grudge over the deaths of their friends, Tolle Koenig and Nicol Amalfi, respectively. During the reprieve, Orb repeatedly sent requests to the EA vessels, asking to negotiate. However, Azrael disregarded all attempts, determining that if they could not conquer the nation, it was in the best interest of the Earth Alliance that Orb be destroyed.[3]

Day Two

The morning of the next day, the Earth Alliance naval fleet resumed their attack with a combined missile barrage and the deployment of their air forces. While Orb forces mobilized to counterattack, Athrun spoke to Kira, telling him that by the looks of the situation, Orb stood no chance at victory. Kira agreed with the assessment and said that everyone else probably knew it too. But told Athrun that just because the odds were against them didn’t mean they should surrender and capitulate to the EA’s demands. Kira told Athrun that he was thankful that they got to talk, before launching in the Freedom. The Archangel, having already deployed, engaged the EA naval fleet and destroyed two Des Moines-class cruisers with its Linear Cannons. Underwater, the Forbidden Gundam emerged from the ocean and destroyed an Aegis-class cruiser with its Heavy Scythe. Meanwhile, the Calamity, riding atop the Raider, destroyed several Kuraomikami-class cruisers on the way to the coastline, where the two began attacking defending M1 Astrays. The EA’s Strike Dagger forces then began to be deployed to the frontlines, overwhelming the M1 Astrays with their superior numbers.[4]

The Freedom, making its way onto the battlefield, fired a Full-Burst attack, incapacitating eight Strike Daggers, and gaining the attention of the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider Gundams. As Kira started disabling Strike Daggers with his beam saber, he quickly evaded a beam blast from the incoming Calamity. After narrowly dodging a blast from the Forbidden’s Plasma Induction Cannon, the Freedom was knocked off guard by a charging Raider, but quickly regained its balance before being overwhelmed by the combined firepower of the three EA Gundam. While the Freedom was being pushed back, the Justice Gundam intervened, breaking the momentum of the combined attack. As Kira asked Athrun why he was helping, Athrun responded that both he and Dearka understood that they were all fighting for something they wanted to protect, and that the two of them decided to fight alongside Orb. As Dearka destroyed several F-7D Spearhead fighters attacking the Archangel, Murrue had the ship fire its "Gottfried" Dual Beam Cannons, destroying an Arkansas-class cruiser. Dearka then destroyed a group of Strike Daggers with a scattering blast from the Buster’s Anti-Armor Shotgun.[4]

At Orb’s military headquarters, Lord Uzumi Nara Athha gave the order for all remaining troops to fall back and gather at the Kaguya Mass Driver. Near the battlefield, an underwater Vosgulov-class submarine was observing the battle and gathering information of the new Gundam mobile suits that were participating. Its commander, Rau Le Creuset, ordered that the submarine would observe the battle a bit longer, then return to Carpentaria Base. Meanwhile, as the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider were slowly being pushed back against the Justice and Freedom, the three mobile suits’ power indicators began to drop to emergency levels, and the three machines fell back to their carrier to recharge.[4]

After falling back to Kaguya Island, Uzumi told the Archangel’s crew and the remaining Orb military to prepare to abandon the nation, telling them that it was only a matter of time before the country fell. Uzumi went on to tell them that the mastermind behind the Earth Alliance’s actions was Muruta Azrael, the leader of Blue Cosmos, and that the PLANT was under the control of an equally villainous individual, Patrick Zala. Should events continue to play out as they have, Uzumi concluded that the world would be destroyed by two forces that refused to recognize the existence of the other, and that if they had any hope for a better future, then they needed to leave while they still had the chance. Murrue accepted Uzumi’s words and left to have the Archangel equipped with rocket boosters to escape into space, while the remainder of Orb’s military boarded the Izumo-class battleship, Kusanagi, to join the Archangel in its departure.[4] Afterwards, while Kira, Athrun, and Dearka were talking, Dearka mentioned that there was no reason he and Athrun couldn’t return to Carpentaria Base, since they were fighting against the EA. Athrun, however, was unsure about what action he should take, or what he should be fighting against. Kira told Athrun and Dearka that they should come with them, and that they would find the answer together. Athrun and Dearka agreed to join Kira and the Archangel on their voyage.[4]

Just as the Kusanagi was preparing to launch, radar detected the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider incoming. Uzumi ordered Murrue to have the Archangel take off, with the Kusanagi launching afterwards. Because the Buster Gundam wasn’t capable of atmospheric flight, Athrun recommended that Dearka board the Archangel while he and Kira protected the Kusanagi. Once in position, the Archangel fired its "Lohengrin" Positron Blaster Cannons to create a hole in the atmosphere and activated its rocket boosters to launch into space. Before the Kusanagi launch, Uzumi dragged his daughter, Cagalli Yula Athha, to the ship, telling her that she had to leave without him. Before saying goodbye, Uzumi told Cagalli that, despite being separated from him, she would be with her brother. He then handed her a picture of her birth mother, with the names Kira and Cagalli written on the back. Uzumi then told Cagalli that he felt very fortunate to have been her father, before telling the Kusanagi to launch. The Kusanagi departed on the Mass Driver, while the Justice and Freedom raced to reach it with the attacking Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider behind them. Kira reached the ship, then held out the Freedom’s hand to grab the Justice’s, pulling Athrun onto the Kusanagi. The two Gundams then fired a combined attack at the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider, halting them from pursuing as the Kusanagi reached the end of the Mass Driver and launched into space. After the Kusanagi’s departure, Uzumi and the remainder of Orb’s leadership activated a self-destruct system that destroyed both the Mass Driver and the Morgenrote facility, sacrificing their own lives in the process.[4]

Aftermath

While the Earth Alliance had won the battle, the victory was pyrrhic. The destruction of the Kaguya Mass Driver left the EA without a route into space and kept them from resupplying their lunar base, and the loss of the Morgenrote facility prevented them from acquiring any new technological advantages against ZAFT.[4] The EA continued to occupy the Orb Union until the official end of the First Alliance-PLANT War, when Orb, the Equatorial Union and the Kingdom of Scandinavia, were relinquished back to their respective governments and returned to their pre-war states of independence from the Earth Alliance. Orb would spend the next two years rebuilding itself from the remains of their destroyed country. With many of Orb’s leadership having died during the battle, the nation’s governing body was almost entirely rebuilt, with Cagalli Yula Athha becoming Orb’s Chief Representative.[5]

Prior to the outbreak of the Second Alliance-PLANT War, many within the new leadership, especially the Seiran family, were afraid of another attack by the EA, and when the new war began, the Orb Union sided with the Earth Alliance against the PLANTs, much to Cagalli despair.[6] During the Second Alliance-PLANT War, when it was revealed that the Seiran family was secretly harboring the leader of LOGOS, Lord Djibril, ZAFT requested that he be handed over to them. After Yuna Roma Seiran denied the allegations, despite the evidence given to the contrary, ZAFT launched an invasion of Orb to capture Djibril, codenamed: Operation Fury.[7] Ironically, ZAFT attacking Orb for aiding the EA ultimately validated Uzumi Nara Athha’s stance against giving up the nation's neutrality.

The battle would also affect someone in the Second Alliance-PLANT War: ZAFT Red Coat Shinn Asuka. Due to a stray shot during the duel between the Freedom and the Second Stage G-Weapons, his parents and sister were killed, leaving him with a deep-seated hatred for Orb for failing to protect his family. [5]

Notes & Trivia

  • The Battle of Orb parallels the attacks on the Sanc Kingdom from the After Colony universe in many ways, as both involve the main Earth faction (along with its more radical subsidiary) after becoming increasingly aggressive attacking the pacifistic nation (Earth Alliance and Blue Cosmos attacking Orb; United Earth Sphere Alliance and later OZ attacking the Sanc Kingdom).
  • The battle is featured in Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn as the penultimate stage in Gundam SEED's story though it merges all the phases of the battle together and follows a different set of events. The player begins in Kira's perspective as they try to hold off Orga and Clotho's attack on Orb's base, but Athrun will arrive to assist the player. Following the first attack, Shani appears to ambush the Archangel while Azrael orders an attack against Orb's HQ. Once Shani is defeated, Ramius will order for the Archangel to depart from the field, and the player must defeat Orga, Clotho and Shani a second time in order to successfully escape.

Appearances

Television Series
Games

References

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