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

Prelude

Since his election, PLANT Chairman, Patrick Zala took a more hard-line approach against the Earth Alliance in contrast to his predecessor, Siegel Clyne. One of the big pushes in development was to find a way to bypass the Neutron Jammers used to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, eventually leading to the creation of the Neutron Jammer Canceller which allowed nuclear weapons to be used. This breakthrough led to the creation of the ZGMF-X09A Justice Gundam and the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam.[1]

Concurrently, Zala had also planned for a major invasion on the Atlantic Federation headquarters, JOSH-A, known as Operation Spitbreak. The plan was so concealed that both Siegel and the PLANT Council were not informed of the attack beforehand, and believed their primary target was the Alliance's spaceport at Panama Base. This sudden revelation shocked Siegel and his daughter Lacus, who were unable to protest, but their guest, Kira Yamato, the former pilot of the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, was most affected as he was formerly a crewman of the Archangel-class battleship, the Archangel, which had docked at JOSH-A. Kira desperately asked for a way to return to Earth to help his friends, and Lacus was moved by this and opted to help him.[2]

The Theft

After providing Kira with a red ZAFT uniform and pilot suit, Lacus used her father’s clearance for her and Kira to enter a restricted hangar containing the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam. As soon as Kira turned the unit on and detached the hangar's cables, ZAFT operators realized something was wrong and ordered the rogue pilot to exit the unit at once, but Kira ignored them and used the Freedom's beam rifle to blow a hole through the hangar door. A pair of ZGMF-1017 GINNs then attempted to intercept the Freedom, but Kira drew his beam saber and quickly cut through the main cameras of both units before beelining for Earth at full speed. Once Kira had left, Lacus also made her own escape from the facility.[2]

Aftermath

Kira eventually got his wish as he was able to protect the Archangel during Operation Spitbreak, and the ship survived the explosion that eradicated the base and most of the soldiers in the vicinity.[3] The failure of the operation, and the robbery of the unit, however, caused a great uproar in ZAFT, and security camera footage of Lacus during the Freedom's theft only further angered Zala.[4]

Perceiving this as a betrayal, Zala declared the Clynes traitors and ordered their arrest. While Lacus evaded officers and continued to broadcast anti-war speeches on the radio, Siegel was killed during a firefight between his guard and ZAFT forces.[5] Fearful over the ramifications of one of their nuclear-powered prototype units going against them, Zala ordered his son Athrun, to take the second experimental unit, the Justice, to retrieve or destroy the Freedom.[4]

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