|“|| All you Naturals mark this moment well. Let this light usher in the creation of the Coordinators' world!
—Patrick Zala, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed
Patrick Zala (パトリック・ザラ) is a member of the PLANT Supreme Council, Father of Athrun Zala. He loses his wife in the Bloody Valentine Incident and blames the Earth Alliance. He makes it clear to PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne at a council meeting at Aprilius One that no Natural should be left standing, they must be wiped out for the sake of all Coordinators.
While it isn't known as to how Patrick Zala was prior to the start of Gundam SEED, it's easy to say that the death of his wife at Junius Seven transformed him into a bitter and vengeful man. At first, he seems like a mirror image of sorts to his First Gundam counterpart Gihren Zabi: a charismatic man and capable leader. It was this that lead him to take over as ZAFT Supreme Chairman unlike Gihren, who used his charm to steal his power from his father.
However, as the series continues, Patrick's mask starts slipping further and further as major losses take effect. By the time the Second Battle of Jachin Due takes place, he's a paranoid man who has killed those he believed to be responsible for these devastating losses, shot at his own son because of his actions and actually advocated the complete and utter extermination of every last Natural in existence. Ironically, his break down would mirror that of his Earth Alliance "rival", Muruta Azrael.
First Alliance-PLANT War
When Rau Le Creuset and Athrun return to debrief over the events at Heliopolis, Patrick is seen sitting in their shuttle. He makes it clear to them that they didn't see him. He also slips to Athrun that he had omitted the fact that the Strike is being piloted by an Orb Coordinator, so as not to incite interference from the moderates.
Prior to a council meeting, Patrick met with Siegel, making it clear that they must wipe out the Naturals and the Coordinators must take their place. Siegel counters that third-generation Coordinators exhibit lack of fertility; Patrick says that the PLANT scientists will figure out a solution and refuses to allow humanity to revert to being Naturals.
Because of his strong desire to end the war, Patrick became a popular figure, allowing him to overtake Siegel in the upcoming election and become the next Chairman. His rise to power as the Chairman of PLANT gave him great military power for expansion, which he used in Operation Spitbreak. Officially, the operation was to take out the Alliance's last mass driver at Panama; unofficially, he had his forces deploy instead to take out Alliance headquarters JOSH-A, without the approval rest of the PLANT Council. However, Rau secretly leaked intel of this attack to the Alliance, which compelled Blue Cosmos to sacrifice the Eurasian forces with the Cyclops system to eliminate half the attack force. The aftermath involved near insanity for Zala. Believing that the moderates had betrayed him, he ordered their arrest and if necessary, death in which he had Siegel Clyne killed. He got even more furious when Lacus Clyne gave the new Freedom mobile suit to Kira Yamato, whom he presumed to be an Alliance spy. He sent his own son, Athrun Zala/Justice after the suit and gave Athrun strict orders to use extreme measures of eliminating the pilot and anyone else that comes into contact with the suit so the details of the Freedom's key component, the Neutron Jammer Canceller does not fall into the hands of the Alliance. But when Athrun returned without either suit, he shot his own son, when he refused to divulge the location of the mobile suits Freedom and Justice. However, Athrun was rescued by members of the Clyne Faction, who stole the FFMH-Y101 Eternal for their escape.
Eventually, word of the Alliance's destruction of Boaz through use of N-Jammer Canceller technology reached the PLANTs. Patrick cursed the Naturals for such barbaric actions. During the Battle of Jachine Due, Zala unveiled the GENESIS, a superweapon designed for ending the war. The first shot destroyed most of the Alliance fleet, the second took out the reinforcements and the lunar base of Ptolemaios. However, Patrick became infuriated that the Alliance was still fighting and that not even ZAFT could stop the Three Ship Alliance, who were attempting to stop such genocidal actions. He tells the Jachin staff to target GENESIS on Atlantic Federation capital, Washington. His actions clearly showed that Patrick wasn't just satisfied with conquest, but to annihilate all Naturals to make Coordinators the "new" mankind. Ray Yuki protested such an action, as it would wipe out half the life on Earth and destroy the surface; Patrick responded by shooting him. He justified to his troops that there enemy is still out there and they must destroy them all; one of his aides pointed out that their space forces were still in the line of fire; Patrick stated that all their forces were fighting for one thing - victory. He is then shot by Yuki, who then dies. Athrun and Cagalli then come into the control room to find Patrick's floating body. With his dying breath, he tells Athrun to fire GENESIS, to make the world for Coordinators. However, Athrun doesn't and detonates the Justice inside the superweapon. Patrick's body is then annihilated by Jachin Due's explosion. Afterwards, Eileen Canaver takes over and opens negotiations with the Alliance.
Second Alliance-PLANT War
Even in death, Patrick's influence still remained in a number of radicals who used Junius Seven as a weapon to drop on Earth.
Lenore Zala - his wife prior to the start of the series. It's unknown what kind of relationship he has with his wife, although when she was killed in Junius Seven, Patrick changed. It was through her death, which led to his ambition of becoming chairman and leader of ZAFT, as well as his undying hatred of Naturals and a desire to get revenge, even if it meant destroying the Earth using GENESIS.
Athrun Zala - His only son. Patrick sent him to the ZAFT Military Academy, where he became the top of the class and part of the ZAFT Military. He has somewhat a shaky and difficult relationship with his own son, as he wants Athrun to follow all his commands, without question. To him, his own son is but a tool to eliminate all of the Naturals and get revenge for his wife's death. Some would hint that he arranged Lacus to be engaged to Athrun, to gain more political premise within the PLANT Supreme Council. In the end, he disowned his own son for defecting to the Clyne faction and once tried to shoot him.
- Patrick Zala can be considered the Cosmic Era counterpart to Gihren Zabi. The two share a similar appearance and style, Patrick looking much like an older version of Gihren. They both also share similar cold, merciless viewpoints towards their respective, earthbound, enemy. Also, Patrick Zala on the PLANTs Supreme Council represents December City, December being the same month Gihren Zabi died. They both also die a gun-related death. However, Gihren gets shot once in the head by his sister Kycilia Zabi, whereas Patrick got shot multiple times in the torso by a disgruntled commander of his, Ray Yuki.
- They would also eliminate their respective faction's moderates in order to further their radical ambitions (Patrick eliminating Siegel Clyne and other ZAFT moderates; Gihren eliminating his father Degwin Sodo Zabi, who was discussing peace negotiations with the Earth Federation).
- He is also similar to Count Saazbaum from Aldnoah.Zero. Both were vengeful spacenoid officials who sought retaliation for the death of their wives and took a radical stance against Earth.