Opening remarks: Given my timing of putting out chapters and the chapter lengths, I thought I would begin a running summary of Sibling's Serenade for those wanting a quick catch up on events, or just for those individuals who only have time to read summaries and not the chapters themselves. I will keep this updated to three chapters behind my most recently posted chapter and I hope this will still be of interest and of use to readers.

I will be updating/replacing this file as new chapters come up. I will not be adding chapters so there will be no notifications for this "story."

Just to stress, this is an updated summary by chapter of Sibling's Serenade, so spoilers are to be expected.

Mandatory disclaimers: 1) I do not own anything related to Gundam SEED, Gundam SEED Destiny, or the Gundam franchise. 2) As we all know, the characters in SEED are all teenagers, but they tend to deal with rather adult concepts. I have not officially aged my characters (I might take the leap someday), but have followed canon in that regard. There might be some adult concepts they have to deal with, so please bear that in mind. 3) The story is rated T, but does have some violent chapters as well as frequent swearing.


Prelude and Fugue in SEED Minor series

Book 2: Sibling's Serenade
A summary
by chapter

Overall purpose/plot

This story takes place in the two years between Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny. Fewer mobile suit battles and some covert operations, but overall, there is peace in the universe at the moment, so other drama is taking place. Serenade mixes in a bit of political drama, personal drama, and relationship drama with some thriller thrown in.

The chapters have time and location jumps, so there are markers for new dates and locations before each section. This summary will feel really choppy because of that since each section might be fairly different than the one before it and seem as if they don't connect. I will do my best to make a coherent summary, but please be aware. Also, I might not be able to go as in depth into dates and locations, but I will try to make it as clear as possible.

Last thing to note, Serenade also goes into the backstory of its two main OCs, Lexi Rymyr and Namarra Legund, and then moves to take a look at the last two siblings in the SEED universe, Cagalli and Kira. The first chapters dive into Namarra's past then the story moves onto Lexi's past and finally onto Cagalli and Kira.

Chapters 1–4

These were written right after I finished Waltz and, admittedly, I was struggling to figure out what I wanted Serenade to be. A lot of "welcome to peacetime" type of vibe and setting up characters/relationships.

Chapter 1: RPGS, FPS, and +10 Wisdom (~14,000 words)

Namarra's past (CE 65): Introduces the Kingdom of Scandinavia and the young Namarra, eight years old, along with her older brother Kai. They live on their own because of unfortunate circumstances regarding their parents' deaths and are getting by. Also introduces an apparent close relationship between the siblings and the Buer family where we learn Clotho's father has just earned a huge promotion at his work.

Present time (CE 71 December–CE 72 January): Lexi and Namarra are back on Mendel seeing what other information on Berserkers they can scrounge up from the debris. They stumble upon the facility Kira, Mu, and Le Creuset went to in SEED and bring back a computer that might have some information worth learning. Jump forward to CE 72 and Namarra's birthday in January where the girls are drinking in the PLANTs with Yzak and Dearka. The chapter ends with the girls going to Mongolia on a Hermes mission (under the aliases of Piper and Coda) with two new operatives, Johann and Sebastian, to investigate a facility housing nuclear products. This get a little shooty, but the only thing damaged in the end was, perhaps, Athrun's patience.

Chapter 2: Fighting's Fair in Love and War (~13,000)

Namarra's past (CE 65): Kai, Namarra, and Clotho are walking to school when the Legund siblings are invited over to the Buers for dinner. During school, Kai gets in a fight and Namarra scolds him for it, upset that he seems to let his anger get the best of him. Though, she is no angel either, pulling pranks on some of the students and getting detention as well.

Present time (CE 72 January–February): In the PLANTs, Addict is returned to Lexi's ear and Lathan updates both her and Namarra on some new features with the CAs. A few days later, the girls go to meet two new contacts and despite having left separately to meet them individually, they end up at the same address. After some booby trap hijinks, they manage to finally meet Sean and Noah, tech wizards who have, apparently, angered a rather powerful arms dealer.

Chapter moves on to Orb and a brief stop at Morgenroete with Erika Simmons and Murrue Ramius where the girls are updated on new changes to the Astrays. Both Lexi and Namarra offer to help out with the system—well, they agree to let Erika use the CAs, which looks to be the better deal in the end. The chapter continues in Orb where Lexi and Cagalli are out for an afternoon meal and Cagalli admits to the possibility of her being pregnant though there are many factors in play. Lexi opts to help her out just in case.

Back in space, we move to Heine's POV briefly and see him at work where he exchanges conversation with Durandal and Lexi calls as they're talking, Durandal seeing the name on Heine's phone. The chapter ends in space with Yzak and Lexi on what appears to be a version of a date. There's a bit more awkward than cute, but Yzak does ask her out in the end and Lexi agrees.

Chapter 3: Forever's Not as Long as They Remember (~11,000)

Namarra's past (CE 65): Past starts with Christmastime with Kai and Namarra. Namarra plays Kai a song and it's rather happy overall, but that changes soon after Christmas when Namarra gets nearly hit in the street by a car, hurts her wrist, and the siblings are forced to go to the hospital where they are cornered by child services. They are then promptly sent to an orphanage.

Present time (CE 72 February–March): Lexi has a catch-up with Waltfeld over coffee about general day-to-day things. Nothing too exciting happens until Lexi speaks with Cagalli and Kisaka where, apparently, her pregnancy scare, which turned out to be nothing, ended up being slipped to the media. One journalist in particular was latching onto the story and they had a plan to snuff out the rumors at a press conference, which went surprisingly well. Lexi is approached by the journalist, Quiller, who, in exchange for a juicy story, would not expose Athrun and Cagalli's relationship—or Lexi's and Yzak's for that matter.

Chapter ends with Lexi's birthday and her and Athrun getting into a fight regarding her genetics.

Chapter 4: Lifestyles of the Rich and Careless (~12,000)

Namarra's past (CE 67): Leap forward a couple of years and the Legunds have settled into their orphanage life. They befriend two other guys Kai's age named Shani and Orga, and Namarra befriends a girl by the name of Lacie Maria. Everything seems well at the orphanage despite some strange Earth Alliance personnel visiting occasionally and the lingering fear that Kai, Orga, and Shani would be kicked out due to their age. The sections end with a new arrival at the orphanage, Clotho, whose family perished in a fire.

Present time (CE 72 March–April): Lexi visits their newest contacts, Sean and Noah, and learns that the lower half of the Korean peninsula was hit by some large weapon large enough to take out a chunk of the land mass. The attack originated from Japan, but nothing else is really known and the event has been suspiciously kept under wraps despite its magnitude.

Chapter skips to a little Lexi and Yzak time which is, probably unsurprising, them doing more bickering than dating. Heine drops into the chapter with him at work where he runs into a kid by the name of Rey who seems to have a really good relationship with Durandal. The chapter ends with Namarra escorting Lathan on a mission where he is talking to a couple of contacts. Djibril shows up at the same location and Namarra leaves her post to try and get some ears on him. When she returns to where Lathan was, he's gone.

Chapters 5–13

Lathan's kidnapped arc and the climax for Namarra's past. Chapter 5 was the first chapter I wrote after a five-year break and I think there's probably a noticeable shift in the story starting here, so I apologize in advance.

Chapter 5: Stray Delicacies (~12,000)

Namarra's past (CE 67): Her past begins with the guys all talking about what their options are for when they get too old to be able to stay at the orphanage. Military seems like the best option. Orga runs into Namarra and explains to her why he's joining and they have a surprisingly happy parting.

Namarra's past continues when we learn Lacie Maria tried to run away and her body was found on the nearby riverbank. Kai was the one to tell Namarra the news and she doesn't take it very well, Kai startled to see the strange look in her eyes and, apparently, he wasn't the only one to witness the change. Her past ends with Namarra being taken away from the orphanage and the siblings torn apart.

Present time (CE 72 April): Lexi joins Namarra at the place where Lathan went missing and she is pissed, to say the least. They try to gather as much information as they can before leaving and heading to talk to Heine. Heine tries to do as much as he can, but the girls are adamant on not compromising him and his delicate position, so they end up giving him a research task (to find out more about a company possibly linked to Lathan's disappearance) to appease his worried mind, but soon leave to head back to Earth. The girls have a few hours before their shuttle leaves, so they stop by a nearby café, surprising Lexi to find out that the co-owner is none other than Jaeger (aka Stray). The three of them have a catch-up where Jaeger shows them a brief announcement in the news about a body found on the Mendel colony (which is now in the middle of restoration). There's no one else it could be other than Melanie and the girls are instantly on edge. Their worries intensify when Jaeger mentions that Phoebe is alive and might be after Lexi for what she did to Melanie.

Heine is at work attempting to do the research the girls tasked him with and he runs across a shipping itinerary from a company that is part of the same conglomerate as the company possibly linked with Lathan's disappearance. At first glance, it looks as if the company is linked with both Durandal and Rey.

Chapter 6: Piece by Piece (~16,000)

Present time (CE 72 April): Chapter begins with Heine speaking with Durandal where the older man moves up Heine's schedule and promptly sends him off to help with the restoration project for the colonies at L4. Heine doesn't like the prospect of leaving while Lathan is still missing, but doesn't disobey. Heine and his small team need an escort to L4 and that task falls upon Yzak. There's a scene between Yzak and Heine where they catch up a bit on events and share some backstory over a drink.

Chapter jumps ahead to Orb where Lexi and Namarra ended up moving both Sean and Noah under the protection of Morgenroete given the threats against them from their newest arms dealer enemy. Erika is reluctant to take them in at first, but she can't deny she likes the prospect of some talented personnel since the government severely sliced its budget for the facility in an effort to reserve more funds for domestic restoration. The girls hang out with Erika and Murrue for longer where they see the Decay broken apart and under the curious fingers of Erika and her team. Namarra is left with the decision of whether to scrap the mobile suit or put it through upgrades, which would be more trouble than it was worth. She asks to think about it and while she is alone with the suit, she hears two mechanics speaking in the background. They were speaking in another language and the strange thing was, she could understand them. The recognition is overwhelming and she blacks out, only to wake up a few hours later only able to speak her native tongue, Swedish.

Lexi was there when Namarra woke up and immediately finds Erika and Murrue when she realizes Namarra can't understand her anymore and can only speak Swedish. They toss along some theories for the sudden shift and decide that her repressed memories seem to be resurfacing, but this was even more than that, an entire culture had been suppressed by the EA and it has finally returned to her. Miriallia turns out to be the only one among their circle of friends who speaks the language well and she explains the situation to Namarra who then has to come to terms with this past part of herself.

The chapter ends with Waltfeld speaking to Namarra (now able to use English again) and Lexi about what new things they had found out concerning Lathan (who has now been missing for about three weeks) and it looks as if they managed to find a connection between the company Heine had been researching and Blue Cosmos. A contact who could have additional information was going to be at a gala in Bangkok and the girls had a plan to get the information out of him, but because they would be doing it under their Hermes aliases, they need to talk to Athrun about it and have a meeting at Morgenroete to discuss options. Thing is, Lexi and Athrun are still pissed at each other and the meeting doesn't go particularly well, but they do decide to try and corner the guy at the gala. The girls also aren't the ones going under cover.

Chapter 7: Filling in the Blanks (~11,000)

Namarra's past (CE 67–68): Namarra arrives at an Earth Alliance base where her position is clear. She was there against her will, alone, and wasn't going to leave any time soon. Time skips ahead to CE 68, but Namarra isn't really aware at what's going on. She's been given drugs, trapped away in a room with guards and only one visitor named Juri who seems nice and helps her learn English.

Present time (CE 72 April): After the meeting, Waltfeld makes sure Athrun and Lexi hash things out so their fighting would stop interfering with missions. The two have a good catch-up in a room at Morgenroete and Athrun finally learns the severity of the experimentation done on her during the war. The chapter skips forward to Lexi, Namarra, Athrun, Johann, and Sebastian at a party in Bangkok, staking out and trying to speak to their contact. Athrun is the one tasked with luring him out, playing the ultimate bait of being blond, beautiful, and male. Djibril shows up himself to the party and Namarra risks holding his attention while Athrun seduces their target. While Namarra believes she has the upper hand in the conversation, it turns out that Djibril is aware of her residence in Orb and that she isn't as hidden away as previously thought.

Athrun's seducing goes well and they lead their target outside the party, learning from him that a company in Japan had taken Lathan for a project involving reconstructing a person. The crew returns to Orb where Lexi learns from Addict that Phoebe had been located and she's currently in Orb.

Chapter 8: Code Red (~18,000)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Namarra has been put through a series of experimentations involving a room with beds, but she doesn't really understand, only that she feels off. The doctors in the room are whispering about her underperforming and a teen appears in the doorway, seeming to know her. It takes him a bit of prodding, but eventually Namarra recognizes him to be Kai and they have a distraught reunion.

Present time (CE 72 April–May): The information about Lathan's possible whereabouts was helpful, but they still didn't have any solid leads on him. Yzak makes the decision to remove the scar on his face and because he took some time off to heal, he makes the decision to visit Lexi in Orb. Since finding out Phoebe was in Orb, the girls have been keeping an eye on her, but can't make a move, fearing repercussions from the law. They don't get the chance to make the first move in the end. Lexi, Namarra, Lacus, and Cagalli are all having a relaxing evening at the orphanage when Phoebe crashes the party, shooting Lacus in the shoulder, hitting Cagalli across the back, and puts a blade through Lexi's hand. Lexi and Namarra manage to best her in the end, but the injured three are rushed to the hospital.

Yzak meets Namarra and Athrun at the hospital where he promptly gets into a shouting match with Athrun that sends Namarra into a panicked fit. After a series of event involving Cagalli pulling some strings, Yzak ends up staying the night at Lexi's bedside and is visited by Athrun in the morning where the two of them have a rather calm discussion. Athrun reveals that he had found Lathan and as soon as Yzak leaves to freshen up, he lets Lexi and Namarra know. Namarra and Athrun decide to go to Japan together to get Lathan because Lexi is too beat up to do the job. They can't just go in and grab Lathan, however, so the plan is to locate him, assess his health, and then put some pressure on the company, Sora BIO, to release him by sprouting rumors they had kidnapped him.

Chapter 9: Role of a Sibling (~12,000)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Kai and Namarra have slipped into routine at the base, the strangest bit probably being Namarra's daily checkups with a doctor named Tsugu. After one of those checkups, Namarra returns to join Kai for lunch and sees that Orga is sitting with him. Namarra's past ends with her at one such checkup where Djibril and Azrael pay her a visit, discussing her progress with Dr. Tsugu. The meeting is both tense and creepy overall, both Djibril and Azael strangely obsessed with her health and attempting to get her angry for some reason, though Namarra doesn't understand their motives. It ends with the men leaving and discussing the rumor that there was another like Namarra, someone older, spotted in Orb.

Present time (CE 72 May): Namarra and Athrun are now in Japan to locate Lathan. Their duo is a bit strained since they never really work together unless Lexi is there, so there's a few kinks to iron out, but overall, they make a pretty good pairing. They venture to the other side of town near where they know Sora BIO to be situated and stake out the area with hopes of getting eyes on Lathan. As luck would have it, they do and even manage to speak to him briefly despite the obvious guards around him. He gives Namarra an ominous warning before they part ways, but not even that is the strangest part of the ordeal. Namarra isn't sure how, but Lathan can see again, if only briefly.

Athrun and Namarra had tried getting in contact with the company in hopes of getting a meeting to speak to them about Lathan, but their messages have been ignored. Back in Orb, they are forced to resort to their plan of applying pressure through rumors. Lexi and Kisaka sit down with the journalist Quiller and feed him the story about Lathan's kidnapping, asking him to spin it as enough of a rumor to force the company to react.

Chapter 10: Warning Label Required (~11,000)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Namarra is in physical training with Shani and the two of them share a sweet moment, Shani trying to teach her how to be better at hand-to-hand despite her being younger than most of the participants in the class. Her past ends with Namarra indeed doing better as time goes on, apparently having killed a fellow trainee during another episode and is left with both not understanding what happened and a strange gurgle of laughter in the back of her mind.

Present time (CE 72 May): Lexi is released from the hospital and picked up by Cagalli and Lacus. She receives outpatient orders regarding her hand, currently in a sling and unusable. Lacus is in rough shape as well, her arm still in a sling and Cagalli still in a manner of pain from her injury. The three decide to hole up for the day, however, wanting to spend a proper girls day in despite the other one in their quartet still in Japan with Athrun. They stop at Lexi and Namarra's apartment before the party can begin and, come to find out, Phoebe had broken in and trashed Lexi's room. As Lexi is showering, Cagalli and Lacus attempt to tidy up her room and have a discussion about possibly starting to learn some self-defense measures for themselves.

Namarra and Athrun are still in Japan and are still waiting for a response from Sora BIO for a meeting. They decide to spend the day sightseeing and after a close call on a train platform, they do get their meeting with the company.

Yzak and Waltfeld meet for coffee where Waltfeld explains some of Lexi's time during the war and more about Durandal, who had been the one experimenting on her. Waltfeld confesses that Lexi never seems to be able to fully remember Durandal, and Waltfeld is worried because Durandal was currently running for a position on the Supreme Council. He tells Yzak because he feels he might be able to at least help her and Yzak agrees to keep an eye on it and also to have a further discussion with Heine who he remembers works for Durandal. Waltfeld ends the conversation with giving Yzak Lexi's real military file from the war, the one currently in ZAFT database being a fake.

Chapter 11: Playing the Players (~12,000)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Namarra's episode caused a panic on base and she had been locked away, not able to see Kai, Shani, Clotho, or Orga since the event. She returns to being locked in her room with the only visitor being Juri. Namarra does manage to break out at one point and stumbles into a hangar where she sees the beginnings of her future mobile suit, the Decay.

Present time (CE 72 May): Athrun and Namarra get their meeting with Sora BIO where they go to discuss Lathan's release. Sora has the upper hand in the meeting, however, having forged a contract with Lathan's signature and proof of funds being sent to Morgenroete for his services. They will not release Lathan unless Athurn agrees to a trade, that trade being Namarra for Lathan.

The two retreat back to the hotel and immediately set up a meeting with Waltfeld and the others at Morgenroete where Namarra offers to make the switch: her for Lathan. Everyone outright disagrees, assuming this is Blue Cosmos playing to get Namarra in their hands again. It was their only play though so after some brainstorming, they write up a new contract specifically for Namarra's stay at Sora BIO and Athrun is tasked with getting Sora to agree to it. The scene changes to Yzak and Lexi in Orb where they try to have a memorable time despite her fears regarding Namarra in Japan.

The chapter ends with the meeting over Namarra's contract and just when it looks as if Athrun has the upper hand regarding her time at the company, the president of Sora BIO walks in, Tsugu, and Namarra agrees to join him on a tour, much to Athrun's horror.

Chapter 12: The Legunds (~10,000) (Important infodump chapter. This is a very, very brief summary, so if you want the full picture, please read the chapter. Thank you.)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Namarra hadn't been seen by Kai and the others in almost a month and they decide to break her out. They kill a guard trying to get to her, thus alerting the base to what was going on and despite their desperate attempt, they are apprehended before escaping. It's even worse in that Kai was killed in the attempt and that sends Namarra suicidal, but before she could pull the trigger on the barrel in her mouth, the Berserker stops her and she is captured along with Clotho, Orga, and Shani.

Present time (CE 72 May): Namarra follows Tsugu to a lower level of the Sora BIO building where he shows her a room with similar beds to the ones she remembered when she was younger and being held at the EA base in the Kingdom of Scandinavia. He explains that was his specialty and then invites her into a room to explain the BCPU program and Namarra's role in it.

The program was originally funded and begun by GARM R&D, with Ulen Hibiki as the head, as research on the genetic phenomenon known as the Berserker gene. There was the hypothesis that if harnessed, the gene could help put Naturals on par with Coordinators. Because of limited funding, the project hired on PhD students from around the world, Namarra's parents included. Eventually, the project ran out of money and in a desperate attempt to achieve some kind of results, Namarra's parents injected the last remaining specimen from the Berserker that had died in the project's custody into their unborn child: Namarra. The project broke up soon after that, not knowing whether or not Namarra had become a Berserker clone because of the injection until her and Kai resurfaced after their parents' deaths and when they had arrived at the orphanage. Once Namarra had her episode at the orphanage after Lacie Marie's death, the EA swooped in, picked her up, and had been adding her blood to the drugs they were making for the individuals in the BCPU program. Unfortunately, since Namarra's departure in the war, the program had run out of any remaining specimen from her and the members still left in the program, were dying slow deaths from the withdrawal. If Namarra was to stay for a time and offer up some of her blood and plasma, she could save the remaining individuals.

Tsugu goes on to explain that the reason they had grabbed Lathan was for his ability to create very high-tech devices in a very compact form because they needed a device that would repeatedly wipe and rewrite the memories of an adult in their custody. Namarra learns that individual was Mu and amid her distress at learning all of this about her, her parents, and Mu, she is guilted into agreeing to give some blood and is subsequently drugged. The chapter ends with Athrun and Lathan waiting in the room for Namarra to return from her tour, the two of them having tried to argue the length of Namarra's time at the company down to mere days instead of weeks.

Chapter 13: Right? (~14,000)

Namarra's past (CE 68): Namarra is inconsolable after Kai's death and the doctor's attempt to erase the entire event from her memories, but fail repeatedly. The only thing they can do to get her to forget it and not be consumed by her grief is to suppress her memories so far that she even forgot how to speak Swedish. Still, the faint memory of Kai remained, no one able to utter his name around her unless she spiral into a panicked fit. Clotho comes in after the doctors complete erasing her memory for a final time and takes her from the room to meet Orga and Shani in the hall where they promise to take care of each other and not be parted from one another.

Present time (CE 72 May): Namarra awakes in the same room to find a nurse having taken some blood from her arm and her mind fuzzy. The only thing she remembers of her time in the room is the past shared about her and her connection to the BCPU program. Both her and Tsugu return to the room with Lathan and Athrun where she signs her contract, agreeing to stay at Sora BIO for a few days and the group flees back to their hotel. Athrun and Namarra get in a shouting match because Athrun had managed to make it so Namarra would be returning to Orb with him and Lathan that evening, but because she had left with Tsugu, he had lost the edge. Namarra tried explaining her past connection to Tsugu and that she had received a lot of useful information from him, but, in the end, Athrun felt Namarra had played him and they parted ways still angry. Lathan attempts to speak to Namarra and she hands him the information she had learned from Tsugu and typed up for Lexi. Lathan returns back to have a conversation with Athrun who had calmed down for the most part. They get ready to leave for Orb and Lathan floats the idea about putting a version of the CA into Sir Pink, Lacus's trusty Haro that was damaged when Phoebe had crashed girls' night at the orphanage.

While Lathan goes to freshen up before they leave, Athrun gets the chance to call Cagalli and give her the good news that they got Lathan back. He had wanted to tell Lexi the news herself, but she was seeing Yzak off at the plane terminal.

The chapter ends with a past conversation between Djibril and Azrael, having been whisked back to the EA base when they had heard what had happened to Kai and Namarra's hysteria after. It was confirmed that the rumors in Orb about another Berserker were true and because there is only one Berserker a generation (and this Berserker was older than Namarra), the only conclusion was that Namarra was a fake—a copycat. They had been conducting research based on Namarra being the real Berserker of that generation and saying otherwise would ruin everything they had accomplished. So, instead of admitting anything, they opt to destroy Namarra's parents original research about them injecting their unborn child with the Berserker specimen and continue going forward under the speculation that Namarra was real.

Chapters 14–20

Post-kidnapping chapters revolving a bit around Orb political drama and some relationship building between the characters. Chapter 14 also starts Lexi's past.

Chapter 14: The Sound and the Fury (~11,000)

Lexi's past (CE 61): Introducing little Lexi Rymyr and little Cagalli Yula Athha, two spitfires of the political family headed by Uzumi Nara Athha and his wife Himari Yua Athha. Both Lexi and Cagalli are six in this scene and are getting ready to go to some sort of gathering, the girls dressed to match each other. The scene ends with Lexi's mom coming into the room and both women upset about something though the girls don't understand what.

Present time (CE 72 May): The chapter starts with Waltfeld coming to take over Athrun's room (as he left back to Orb) and him having a chat with Namarra. He's not happy with how she played the situation and tells her as much, the conversation ending with Namarra being scolded and reminded that she had other people around she could rely on and to stop doing everything on her own.

The chapter continues with Namarra's time at Sora and other events in Orb. Namarra seems to be getting put through a series of tests experimentations that she agrees to, but at the end of each day, her memories seem to be erased because she never remembers that she is doing it all for Mu and the others stuck in the BCPU program.

Lexi is waiting for Lathan and Athrun to return from Japan, at the airport and trying to remain as calm as she can. Since learning of Namarra's stay at Sora BIO and her inability to do anything, she had been a ball of stress and a timebomb with the Berserker speaking sweet nothings in the back of her mind. The guys eventually show up and she runs to embrace both in hugs before they leave to head back to the Rymyr guest house and Lathan's residence in Orb. At the house, Heine calls in and the guys are chatting with Lexi in the room, Heine and Lexi worried about Lathan's state of mind, but the older Rymyr brushing them off. The scene ends with Lathan giving Lexi the USB drive Namarra had given to him.

A few days later, Lexi and Athrun go to meet Kisaka, Waltfeld, and Namarra at the airport. Seems as if Namarra's time at the company went without a hitch and there was nothing done to her other than what she had agreed to, which is a relief. Athrun isn't completely convinced though, Waltfeld still unable to hide his concern for the girls, that concern possibly prompted by the article he had in his hand regarding some political candidate named Durandal.

The chapter ends with Namarra and Lexi back in their apartment when they try to discuss what Namarra had learned about her parents and the connection between the Berserker and the BCPU program. It ends in a shouting match, however, Lexi's panic peaking as she threatens to break up with Yzak and take them both back into hiding. Namarra gets angry that no one seems to have trusted her to have handled the situation at Sora and Lexi storms out of the apartment. Namarra storms off to her room, but passes some paperwork on the table that had been laid out for her to read. It stipulates the minor, Namarra Legund, being formally put under the guardianship of the Rymyr family.

Chapter 15: The World's a Stage (~15,000)

Lexi's past (CE 61): Cagalli, Lexi, Cagalli's mom, and Lexi's mom are all out together shopping. They take a break for some ice cream and Lexi notices that Cagalli's mom has been looking tired and ill over the past few weeks. Lexi's mother brushes it off, claiming she was just tired because of the heat. Lexi and her mom had been tasked with buying the ice cream and as they are at the counter, the register breaks down before the total for the order could be summed up. Lexi does the math quickly and gets praised by her mother, but an older man nearby pours some soda on her head, complaining about Lexi being a Coordinator and is apprehended quickly.

Present time (CE 72 May–June): Namarra waits for Lexi to leave to go on her "date" with Athrun before walking out of her room. The two of them hadn't made up yet and she didn't feel line doing it just yet. Instead, she makes some coffee and phones Lacus to see if she wants to hang out. Namarra agrees to go shopping with Lacus and her along with Kira come to pick her up. Namarra and Lacus have a good time shopping where Namarra expresses concern about Lexi's panic. Lacus is sympathetic, but overall thinks everyone just needs a break. It's a sad moment between the two where Lacus lets her guard down and hints that she might be going through just as much depression as everyone else after the war. The scene ends with Namarra agreeing to be tutored by Lacus.

"Date" time for Athrun and Lexi where the two of them really have to turn up the heat because of the rumors going around Alex and Lexi (or ALexi) are in turmoil because Lexi was seen with Yzak. In order to snuff out the rumors and try to renew the ruse that Lexi was dating Alex, they discuss with Waltfeld and Kisaka on possible plans to make a big enough scene to convince everyone. There's a brief dive into the state of the world currently and why Athrun can't take up the name "Zala" just yet, along with some camaraderie displayed between Lexi and Athrun.

The date itself takes place at a pet shop where Lexi and Athrun are ushered back to spend some time with some puppies with the prospect of them buying one. Athrun and Lexi talk more about what's going on in their lives—Lexi's fight with Namarra, Athrun's worry over Yuna—but it drags on too long and the two have to fake a fight where Lexi subsequently buys a puppy. The two leave the shop, still play acting their argument and get in a shouting match in the street where Athrun accuses her of sleeping around with Yzak behind his back. Lexi tries to apologize, but Athrun drives off and leaves her on the sidewalk with the puppy in her arms. The paparazzi love the drama and take photos as Athrun is away, but he does return, opening the door for Lexi to get in and confessing his love for her in the same breath. Lexi gets in the car and the two of them are relieved as soon as he drives off, hoping that scene was enough for people to think ALexi was back on track.

Lexi spends the night at Athrun's and returns to Namarra and a hot cup of coffee the next morning. The two of them make up and Namarra agrees to fall under the protection of the Rymyr name. Namarra also explains that she is going to look for her parents' research in the Kingdom of Scandinavia and that she planned on going alone.

Chapter 16: Dysfunctional Families Functioning (~15,000)

Lexi's past (CE 61): Lexi is up in the PLANTs at an event with her brother, Lathan, and their parents. She was playing with some of the other kids when she heard some other adults talking about Cagalli's mom and saying that she was going to die. She went up to ask her mom about it, but she yelled at her and the young redhead fled. She ended up in some storage room and Lathan ended up being the one to find her, admitting that the only thing he knew was Cagalli's mom was really sick. It's a touching moment between the siblings who have a tendency to not get along with one another.

Present time (CE 72 May–June): Lexi and Lathan are waiting in the airport for Heine to land for his vacation in Orb. They talk a bit about their parents and admit they understand why they acted the way they had and kind of wish their time hadn't been cut that short. Heine arrives and they head to the Rymyr guest house where Heine will be staying during his holiday. Namarra is already there and Lathan whisks her away to take Chicabo out of her ear (the device had been damaged in Japan) while Lexi helps Heine settle in. Lexi and Heine have a good catch up where they talk about Phoebe's police case and he gets a more detailed look at her damaged hand. The day ends with Lexi calling over a bunch of people for game night that seemed to go both well and poorly, depending on who was asked.

The next day, Waltfeld, Athrun, and Lexi were all travelling together. Athrun was going to drop them off to meet one of Lexi's contacts, HC, who was going to find them a way to the PLANTs that was a bit under the radar. HC arrives a little bit late and, come to find out, Waltfeld and him knew each other well. Athrun leaves just before they go, heading off to have a holiday of his own with Cagalli, Lacus, and Kira.

Lexi makes it to the PLANTs a day early to surprise Yzak, which she does, but not in the capacity she had anticipated. She was waiting in his apartment for him to come back from work, but come to find out, he had gone out drinking with his colleagues without letting her know. He comes back late and tipsy, one of his colleagues helping him through the door—a pretty redcoat by the name of Shiho Hannenfluss. Lexi introduces herself as Piper and Shiho gets the hint, leaving and the remaining two immediately get into an argument. Despite it all, it does end well, Lexi realizing she was angry because she was jealous Shiho had walked him home and Yzak finding the entire thing adorable.

The chapter ends from Dearka's POV. His relationship with Miriallia had taken off and she was currently over at his place, having just exchanged some messages with her grandma who lives in the Kingdom of Scandinavia. After some discussion, she decides to ask him to go with her to visit her family in Scandinavia and, nervously, Dearka agrees.

Chapter 17: What's Important (~14,000)

Lexi's past (CE 63): A couple years down the line from the last time we had seen Lexi, they are at a New Year's party where an unsightly comment by Yuna sent Cagalli crying out into the garden. Kisaka and Lexi go to look for her and when they find her, the girls retreat back inside the house and sneak upstairs to spend the rest of the evening with Cagalli's mom instead of at the party. Cagalli's mom had nearly passed out earlier at the party and had retired to her room for the evening. The girls curled up with her to wish in the new year.

Present time (CE 72 June): Chapter opens with Athrun and Cagalli at the Athha country residence. Cagalli is on the phone with Tane Paewai, the head of the Paewai party and family. Tane wants to take his heir, Airini, to Washington D.C. for a meeting and Cagalli is against it because the girl is only ten years old. Athrun lets Cagalli finish getting ready and goes downstairs to find Lacus and Kira looking at the broken Sir Pink on the table. Athrun explains he's going to add in the CA and fix the device later, much to Kira's interest and Lacus's worry. The guys proceed to make breakfast for the girls while Athrun is teased for his role in Bangkok where he had to seduce a man.

Namarra returns to the PLANTs to find that someone was living in her and Lexi's apartment. That someone was Jaeger and Logan (or Wrath). After a brief fight with Logan, they get on a video call with Lexi and Logan explains that he is on the run from both a pirate gang he had joined after he fled SIN-ED in the war and a company with some pretty powerful contacts because of what he knew about their operation. Apparently, his pirate gang was chased out of their hideout (the O'Niell colonies) because a company from the South African Union had bought the scrap they were living in. Logan had seen shipping manifests for the company and it looked as if they wanted to refurbish them and also had the materials for positron reflectors listen among their stock. Lexi and Namarra agree to let them stay in the apartment until other arrangements could be made.

The chapter jumps forward a couple of days to Yzak coming home from a brief stop at base and he shows the file Waltfeld had given him, admitting he had gone through it. Lexi was okay with him knowing her history, but she didn't want anyone to know the extent of her time at Januarias 4. Come to find out, there was a separate folder in her file with notes and information from that very program and Lexi freaks out. Eventually, Yzak calms her down and they part ways rather strained, Yzak finding the information hard to swallow. Lexi flees to her apartment and lets Namarra read the file, the two of them ending the chapter with a conversation about the possibility of both of them dying slowly because of their Berserker halves.

Chapter 18: Parental Guidance (~16,000)

Lexi's past (CE 63): Lexi is pulled out of school and taken to the hospital where she learns that Cagalli's mom died. Lexi yells at her mom because she doesn't understand why no one did anything, but Lathan and her father are quick to remind her that it's no one's fault.

Present time (CE 72 June): The chapter opens at a building dedication in the PLANTs for those who had died in the terrorist attack during the war, including Lexi's parents and Dearka's father. Dearka and his mother are on stage along with Lathan who was making a speech for the event. Lexi was hiding in the crowd with Miriallia and Yzak was there as added security for the other, old council members in attendance, including his mother. It's the first time Lathan is in public as the official voice of the Rymyrs and the first time Lexi sees Yzak's mom, though they never meet. Yzak had been distant since reading her file so it didn't feel appropriate and was a nervous affair anyway. Yzak, Dearka, Miriallia, and Lexi all go out for drinks after the event where Dearka thanks Lexi for taking out SIN-ED, the ones who killed their parents. Lexi wants nothing to do with the gratitude and denies it at first, but her and Dearka come to an agreement by the end of the evening.

A couple of days later, Dearka, Namarra, Yzak, and Lexi are all doing some hand-to-hand training together to both strengthen Lexi's hand and because Yzak is in charge of a program for ZAFT that might require him to do some hand-to-hand combat. The bout ended up being Yzak vs. Lexi where Lexi does end up winning, but not easily. The section ends with Athrun calling Namarra in a panic because Airini Paewai was currently in a hostage situation in Washington D.C. The political drama is pretty high, Orbites mostly sympathetic to the hostage takers who were demanding reparations for Heliopolis and the attack from the EA during the war. It's a tough spot for the Athhas politically and everyone's on edge, knowing the Athha family influence was slipping away, including Cagalli's chances at becoming Chief Representative again in the next election.

The chapter ends in the PLANTs with Heine, Durandal, and Talia heading out to eat. They hadn't had the chance to leave the building yet, however, the three of them running into Ezalia Joule who had been in the building to talk to Canaver concerning Orb's recent uprising and call for reparations. Durandal opts to speak to her and talks her into helping him get voted in as Council Chairman in return for his help to minimize the reparations to Orb, which might include some rather harsh repercussions for Yzak because he had been on the Le Creuset team at the time.

Chapter 19: All in a Day's Work (~13,000)

Lexi's past (CE 63): Cagalli and Lexi had been taken by some men when out with maids. They had been taken for quite a few hours before they were finally found, but not only found, they had escaped. The scene revolves around the adults arguing in the other room about Lexi having done something to help them escape and the doctors checking the girls for any injuries. Lexi wasn't entirely sure what had happened, but she did know Cagalli was too scared of her to look at her.

Present time (CE 72 June): This chapter revolves around the Joule team. Yzak gets called in during the middle of the night, a piece of Jachin Due having been kicked out of orbit and his team is ordered to mobilize and assist the demolition team on site. He has been warned that traces of mobile suit activity had been found on the remnant of the asteroid.

His team makes it out to the debris, but no one can touch it yet until he and his team do a sweep of the insides. Any ship in the area was called in to assist and the only one to respond to the summons was the Minerva, which was out for drills. Yzak speaks to Talia and they come up with a plan to send in some pilots to check the inside and have some scout the area on the outside. Yzak goes in with the inside crew and as a whole, the group discovers there were flare motors on the outside of the asteroid and plans on the inside indicating the piece was meant to have been sent towards Earth and subsequently burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. Basically, it had been kicked out of orbit on purpose and that fact made them all nervous.

The pilots return safely to their ships and they wait for the demolition team to destroy the piece before it could become a threat to PLANT defenses. The team does manage to destroy it, but a portion that was too large for the PLANT defenses breaks free. The Impulse pulls a very risky move to cut the debris in half and despite the very stressful demolition, the mission was a success.

The chapter ends with Lexi standing outside the base and talking to Yzak on the phone, her worry about him coming face-to-face with pirates on his mission causing her paranoia to kick into full gear. She finishes the call and just before she was about to leave, she runs into Shinn, Luna, and Rey.

Chapter 20: Worth Remembering (~12,000)

Lexi's past (CE 64): Another year down the line and it was Cagalli's birthday. She had begun getting called the "Princess of Orb" due to her father's standing and her continually attending more formal events. They had rented out the whole zoo for the party, a bunch of Lexi's schoolmates hanging over Cagalli and the redhead off to the side by herself. Lexi overhears the adults talking about the mobile suit program that had just begun in the PLANTs and Uzumi eventually comes over to stand by Lexi. He expresses concern over Cagalli and asks that Lexi keep an eye on her. She promises she will.

Present time (CE 72 June): Namarra is currently in the Kingdom of Scandinavia with Dearka and Miriallia, her looking for her parents' research and Dearka hanging out with her that morning because he had to attend his university lecture remotely. They both head off to the university after a check in with Lexi and Namarra looks for her mother's thesis on file as Dearka attends his class. Eventually, Namarra does find the paper where she reads the cold truth that despite any warm memories Kai might have shared with her when they were little, there was a good possibility Namarra was nothing but an experiment in her parents' research.

Scandinavia rounds off with a cute moment between Dearka and Miriallia on a riverbank near the city where Miriallia plays around with a disposable camera, having gotten into taking more pictures since finding her father's old camera. Orb also features in this chapter with Athrun wondering what he should be teaching the eager Lacus and Cagalli who want to learn hand-to-hand combat and firearms.

The chapter ends with Lexi waking up in the middle of the night having had a nightmare about Melanie and her inner struggle with the Berserker—the Berserker that is quick to remind her how easily it can take over and threatens Yzak.

Chapters 21–23

Chapters for the Hermes mission in Manila, Equatorial Union.

Chapter 21: Learning to Fight (~13,000)

Lexi's past (CE 64): Lexi and Kisaka are at a violin recital for Lathan. It's a short section where she is really proud with how well he did and there's some whispering in the auditorium about how their parents hadn't bothered to show up. Lexi gets to visit Lathan after the performance and decides that she'll do better than her parents, actually have a good relationship with her brother, and be there for him should he need her.

Present time (CE 72 June–July): The chapter starts in Heine's apartment where Lexi is speaking to Lathan via video. The siblings were going through their parents' possessions in Orb and Heine is just keeping out of the way. At one point, Heine does get a message from Yzak and a proposition that the two of them should meet to talk, which Heine decides is a good idea. The section ends with Lexi asking for Heine to keep an eye on her.

The chapter jumps to Athrun and Cagalli training in Orb when Yuna comes in and interrupts them. Lots of tension between Athrun and Yuna, but both are on their best behavior.

Small time jump brings us into July and the small crew of Hermes personnel in Manila, Equatorial Union. Lexi and Namarra are tracking three Orbites who had left Orb under suspicious circumstances and it takes them to the main shipping port in Manila. DaCosta and Waltfeld are their eyes at camp and after bugging some cameras, as well as being jumped by a rather unsuspecting pirate, the girls retreat back to their camp in the slums. Upon further recon, the Orbites are found to be in the warehouse the pirates are operating out from and Athrun had managed to get the transportation secretary on board to give Hermes the time to retrieve their countrymen. To make matters even more complicated, the pirates seem to have a base below their warehouse and the planning begins to try and infiltrate their hideout to grab the Orbites.

Chapter 22: Out of the Frying Pan (~16,000)

Lexi's past (CE 64): Lexi and Lathan are stuck at the hotel as their parents are out doing diplomatic things for Orb. The siblings end up watching an action movie where Lexi becomes awed by the stunts that the characters do and attempts to mimic them, jumping around the room as she speaks with Lathan. Lathan is quick to remind her that because of their relation to the Athhas, he will be groomed to be a politician and Lexi will probably be married off. Lexi is frustrated such a thing might be her future, but firmly believes she can avoid it.

Present time (CE 72 July): Meeting between Yzak and Heine where Yzak attempts to bring up about Durandal being elected Chairman and what that might mean for Lexi. The conversation is rather tense, Yzak relearning that they all played a role and his seemed to be a bit less involved than he might like.

Mission begins in Manila with the crew getting ready aboard a borrowed ship. Terminal has also agreed to help Hermes and three pilots by the names of Mars Simeon, Herbert Von Reinhard, and Hilda Harken join Athrun, Waltfeld, Namarra, and Lexi aboard with their DOM Troopers. There is a bit of pre-mission banter before Lexi and Namarra leave to begin Phase One.

Phase One: Lexi and Namarra hijack a GOOhN that has come out to investigate their ship. The girls manage to trap it with chaff grenades, short the machines communications and power, then board to kill the pirate pilot and take the MS back to the pirate base.

Phase Two: Namarra and Lexi split up, the Natural skirting along the warehouse floor to the office area where she will free the kidnapped Orbites and take them behind friendly Hermes lines, which are topside and holding down any resistance from the pirates on the surface. At the same time, Lexi is to cause a ruckus and divert attention to her by destroying much of the pirate warehouse, which she handles pretty well.

The whole thing starts going south when a new enemy appears on the scene and hoists the GOOhN up through the warehouse floor while she is in the middle of her distraction. The new enemy is an upgraded Zn0 and very much out of Lexi's league.

Chapter 23: Into the Fire (~14,000)

Lexi's past (CE 65): Lexi is sitting in the car with her father and they are driving to meet Lathan and her mother at a family wedding. Her father is on the phone and is talking to Homura about something work related. Lexi, however, is bored and neglected, anxious to get to the party even though she is sure she's not going to enjoy it. This section introduces Akemi, her father's personal bodyguard who has been his guard since before Lexi had been born. Akemi and Lexi share a few words before her father cuts in and tells the driver to take a detour to the office so that he can look up some data for Homura. The car is then sidetracked for work things and Akemi and Lexi share a sad look.

Present time (CE 72 July): End and aftermath of the mission in Mania where Hermes scrambles to clean up a situation heading south. Athrun and Waltfeld are still holding the line with some other Hermes personnel when Namarra announces she's at the rendezvous spot with the rescued Orbite engineers. Lexi, however, is still in the GOOhN and is now having to battle an upgraded Zn0 that no one particularly wants her to do, even herself. DaCosta goes to support Namarra and Athrun follows, hoping to board the one machine Lexi had left standing in the warehouse: a DINN and Strike Dagger hybrid.

Namarra hands off the Orbites to DaCosta and Athrun joins her back in the warehouse, the two of them descending to board the hybrid and support Lexi. Amazingly, the machine works and Athrun rises up through the flooring to deposit Namarra safely behind enemy lines and him to line up a shot to support Lexi.

Namarra creates chaos behind the pirate line in the opening of the warehouse and is able to help pin down the remaining resistance. Everyone is low on ammo at that point, so she does her best to draw the pirates' attention, finally managing to get them to a stalemate.

All the while, Lexi manages to hold her own against the Zn0, but it is a losing battle, the GOOhN no match for the upgraded specs and she eventually gets pinned against the rockface. She's definitely in a tight spot because the pirate pilot is eager to attack the cockpit and she is forced to abandon the machine when it puntures the armor in front of her. The whole group thinks Lexi is as good as dead and the day is lost until Terminal shows up and fires at the Zn0, securing victory for Hermes.

The cleanup is swift and thankfully no one is injured beyond repair. Everyone is relieved to come out as the victors and retire for the night, keen to head home. There is one more meetup that takes place in Manila, however, Lexi and Waltfeld stopping for some coffee where they discuss the new Supreme Council Chairman, Gilbert Durandal, as well as some other topics including Aisha's sister.

Chapters 24–29

Chapters revolving around the field-based program Yzak has been tasked with to run and Orb family drama.

Chapter 24: Consequences of Success (~13,000)

Lexi's past (CE 67): Lexi is at Morgenroete, talking with a young researcher by the name of Erika Simmons about an episode she had recently when training with Kisaka. The moment and memory seems to be lost to Lexi so she struggles to recall any of the details. The moment is a black fog in her mind and for some reason, any specific details are hidden behind a strange mouth in the back of her mind.

Present time (CE 72 August): Some quiet time after the Manila mission, but only for Lexi and Namarra since Hermes's reputation—and subsequently the Athha family—has seemed to skyrocket. It's hit the radar so brightly even ZAFT seems to be looking at their most recent mission and Yzak is called to be part of that briefing along with Talia Galdys. The briefing is primarily about the pirate group, Xile, that Hermes had been versing and what the group was getting into. The briefing moves on to talk about Hermes and Yzak sees quite a bit of footage from the mission that immediately puts him on edge, his anxiety coupling with his stress about his exam.

After the meeting, Yzak spends some time with Lexi, but when arriving at work the next day, he is stuck asking Lathan if anyone from Hermes can come and help with the program Yzak has been tasked with running. The talk with Lathan goes as expected, Lexi and Namarra (after some proverbial teeth pulling) agreeing to be the face of Hermes and take part in Yzak's program.

Chapter 25: Life Is Never Boring (~10,000)

Lexi's past (CE 68): Lexi and Lathan are playing a board game in the sitting room at the Rymyr estate. Lexi's movements have been fairly restricted for the past year based on her "episodes" and her parents' rather restrictive methods. She rarely gets a chance to leave the house unless for things of her parents' choosing and school and Lathan hints that he might have a plan to try and get her out from under their repressive thumb.

Present time (CE 72 August–September): A calm before the storm type of chapter where we see our characters getting ready for Yzak's program. Yzak and Lexi have some quiet time the day after his birthday celebration and we see Heine accompanying Durandal along with the teenager known as Rey Za Burrel to the unfortunately named L. E. Facility of Genetic Research. Durandal admits he's flirting with the idea of making Heine FAITH and the singer is both shocked and awed by the honor.

The story jumps to post yet another ALexi date where Athrun and Lexi are talking about Yzak's program and the girls' attendance. As predicted, no one is particularly happy with them taking on the project on behalf of Hermes, but there are few other choices, as Lexi is quick to remind him. Athrun ends up giving in and when he returns to the living room with some extra notes about Hermes, he witnesses Lexi's "memory loss" concerning Durandal in real time.

The chapter ends with the beginning of Yzak's program, introductions for the other trainers from friendly nations, and a reminder to both girls that Yzak is quite the big deal in ZAFT, much to Lexi's annoyance.

Chapter 26: Take One to Give One (~14,000)

Present time (CE 72 September): The ZAFT program is now in full swing, the girls incognito and attempting to be one of the authorities in the room filled with academy recruits. They are joined by other trainers from the Earth, the most memorable being Banele and Yared from the South African Union and things are generally moving along smoothly. At one point, Lexi and Namarra face off with Banele and Yared, the two girls being royally defeated. It wasn't all for naught, however, the four of them continuing training after hours to help Lexi and Namarra do better against taller opponents.

At one point, Namarra singles out a rather rude recruit by the name of Shinn Asuka who also seems to be the one most of the trainees look up to. Determined to become one of the respected authorities in the program, Namarra works with him in particular and the two of them learn a lot from each other including their mutual grief still lingering from the war.

The chapter ends with Dearka and Miriallia, the two of them sharing a quiet morning together where Miriallia mentions a possible project she wants to work on. It involves a trip to the McNeill Colonies and looking into the company, SPC, the same company who had been working with the pirates in Manila. Dearka finds the whole idea dangerous, but keeps his worries to himself, opting instead to help her in an effort to keep her safe.

Chapter 27: Work-Life Balance (~14,000)

Lexi's past (CE 70): The PLANTs and the EA are officially at war, but Orb has opted to remain neutral. That doesn't mean they will remain silent, however, the Rymyrs having been up in the PLANTs to try and help smooth over hostilities between the two forces. Neither Emilia nor Bryce were, thankfully, near the Blue Cosmos terrorist attack on Copernicus, but they have been determined to remain in space since. They have asked that Lathan and Lexi join them, the two children travelling up with Akemi into space.

Present time (CE 72 September): Yzak's program is moving along swimmingly with no hitches as far as any of them are aware, the class soon navigating to Armory One. The only attitudes anyone needs to traverse are those between the competitive Banele, Yared, Lexi, and Namarra, and those have been evening out since the older operatives took the girls under their wings to teach them a few things. Yzak, however, is still a workaholic and both Banele and Yared catch onto that.

The facilities at Armory One are top-notch, and the program shifts to simulation games and scenarios. The competitiveness of the trainers continues as the games unfold and during one such match, Yzak is pulled into a meeting with the new Chairman of Defense and Supreme Council Chairman, Durandal. While both are happy to know the program is going well, Durandal in particular is worried that any straying trainers might come across their new mobile suits in production and asks that Yzak keep them on a short leash, as it were.

Heine joins the gang on Armory One for added protection, but also has other errands to attend to. One includes meeting the ZAFT operative, Sarah Pallas, who makes some interesting deductions about Heine before asking him to accompany her on one of her own errands: a medical visit involving a girl by the name of Meer Campbell.

The chapter skips down to Orb where Athrun and Cagalli are still reveling in the rapid upturn of her popularity. They have a rather relaxed and flirty conversation until the topic changes to the engagement between Yuna and Cagalli and Athrun's begrudged patience regarding her inability to break it off. They go to bed with Athrun's last thoughts being to talk to Lexi about it.

The end of the chapter is on a solemn yet cute note where we see Shinn and Namarra have formed a friendship of sorts. They're bonding over their mutual losses in the war after a training session and Namarra opens up about her brothers.

Chapter 28: The Rymyrs (~15,000)

Lexi's past (CE 70): Climax chapter for the Rymyr siblings. Starts with the family having been pulled away from a pre-Valentine's Day party because sirens had sounded in the PLANT they were staying at. Apparently, hostiles had broken the line of PLANT defense and a battle was taking place. Lexi and Lathan are in their rented flat with their parents who are both frantically doing political calls both to family back in Orb and to other diplomats in the PLANTs. The kids are attempting to look busy as the television shows scenes from the battle.

The next section of past references the accidental destruction of Junias Seven and the ads now on every television channel calling for recruits to join ZAFT and the war effort. Lexi seems entranced by the call, but is soon ushered downstairs by Akemi. There they meet up with Lathan on their way to the nearest shelter. Once there, the Rymyr kids help however and whomever they can, often going on supply runs. They get such a task that evening and run into a ZAFT recruiter whom they speak to briefly. Lexi expresses desire to join ZAFT and despite Lathan's rebuke, she pleads with him, eventually convincing him it was the best thing for her to do and they both get ready to meet the recruiter the next morning.

The past sections end with Lexi at initiation, a young Coordinator among many in a hall awaiting the opening speech at the ZAFT Academy. She slides in to stand near a boy with bright green hair who goes by the name of Nicol Amalfi and the two have a short conversation before their training begins.

Present time (CE 72 September–October): Yzak's program is coming to an end and it looks as if Lexi and Namarra have actually found two more allies and friends in the South African Union operatives, Yared and Banele. The four of them have been working on melee moves, primarily the girls against bigger opponents, and the training has been a success. They wrap up the last night of the program with drinks where Yzak is invited, but reluctantly joins. The evening goes well for various reasons and and Yzak is getting ready the next morning, he gets a panicked call from Lathan who had heard Chairman Durandal had some complimentary things to say about Namarra and Lexi. The oldest Rymyr didn't like that news and took it out on Yzak who handled it as well as he could.

The chapter skips forward to the beginning of October where Lathan and Lexi are in the main Rymyr estate, which now feels empty since most of their parents' things had been sold. They run into an old, but familiar face while in the house and have a sit down with Akemi who gives them a data disc containing what he calls the key to the Athhas wanting to keep the Rymyrs in the family. The data proves Lexi and Lathan's mother was a Sehaku by blood, and their aunt's marriage to their Uncle Homura was an attempt at bringing the families together into one. With this knowledge, Akemi thinks the Athhas can be enticed to maybe use Lathan and/or Lexi to continue that plan instead, especially since Homura's divorce will have derailed that idea.

The chapter rounds off with another ALexi date where they meet to see the progress on the new Mass Driver. Athrun and Lexi chat a little about their respective relationships where Athrun once again expresses his concern about Yuna. His solution to Cagalli's indecision is to ask her to marry him, which he does admit is rash, but he's running out of ideas. Lexi tries to calm his fears, but in the end isn't able to.

Chapter 29: All in the Family (~11,500)

Lexi's past (CE 70): Le Creuset visits a close colleague and friend by the name of Gilbert Durandal in his lab. The commander comes bearing gifts for the scientist, a box with a single hair from the supposed Berserker that Blue Cosmos has in their grasp on Earth. Durandal doesn't seem interested in the specimen, choosing to not chase after the rumors of the fabled "Berserker." The conversation divulges towards the new program begun by their grief-stricken colleague, Patrick Zala, on Januarias Four.

Present time (CE 72 October): The chapter opens with a brief look at the girls as they're mid-training. Well, sorta. They're supposed to be training, but a in the midst of slacking off, which isn't amusing to their supervisor for the afternoon. The month ticks on to the Athha family meeting where Lathan and Lexi, with Namarra in tow, attempt to argue their right to remain in the Athha family. They propose the plan for Lathan to be the new link between the Athha family and the Sahakus, to the frustration of their uncle Homura, but to the intrigued of the other Athha family members in attendance. With the election looming and the Sahakus departure from government, most feel this is a way to get Sahaku voters on the Athha family party's side rather than the Seirans or the People's Coalition of Orb (PCO). The meeting adjourns with promise of more discussion and the girls go up to space.

The scene switches to a little over a week later where the girls are waiting with Heine for Lathan to arrive after his own travel up to space. The three of them are sitting in the living room messaging individuals on their phones. Heine has been chatting with the charismatic and bubbly Meer Campbell to help her through her recovery while Lexi was talking to Yzak and Namarra was chatting to... someone. Heine doesn't get a chance to pester the Natural about the individual she was talking to, Lathan finally stepping through the door and announcing the Athhas have agreed to use him as the bridge between the families, already setting up an arranged marriage and sorting out a more public occupation for him in Orb.

A week or so later we get to see who Namarra was most likely talking to, the cadet she had met at Yzak's program, Shinn. The two of them are attending an amateur music event, enjoying the time away from their general day-to-day responsibilities and, of course, the company. Though, neither of them would admit that was the case.

The present time ends with Cagalli back in Orb, walking to her office after the Athha party had successfully maintained majority in the election and she was once again named Chief Representative. She is walking proudly in Parliament and runs into her assistant, Harlee, who promptly tells her Yuna and Unato Seiran are waiting to speak to her in her office. Reluctantly, Cagalli goes to meet with them and gets handed their results of the investigation into the war. They have a detailed report on the Heliopolis incident, the crimes committed during the battle on Orb soil, as well as an updated list of names for war criminals. Scary thing is, Cagalli knows one of the people on that list.

Chapters 30–33

Arc for the tribunal trials as well as Dearka's court martial. We also jump into our final sibling pairing of the series: Cagalli and Kira.

Chapter 30: Roleplay (~12,500)

Cagalli's past (CE 71): The group had just returned from space and they were beginning their journey of settling into peacetime. Kira and Lacus had taken up post with Reverend Malchio to help him with his orphanage and it looks as if Cagalli and Athrun are officially a couple, though there is a bit of puppy-love awkwardness to wade through. The four of them are sitting at the main table at the orphanage discussing the prospect of Cagalli and Kira being twins as well as what that'll mean going forward. Cagalli is hesitant, but likes the idea of having a sibling despite Kira's apparent reluctance. At the end of their meeting, they all decide to keep the status quo and their familial relations are their secret to keep.

Present time (CE 72 October–CE 73 January): The chapter begins where the last one left off, Cagalli having, in a panic, called Athrun to her office. Athrun looks at the material the Seirans had brought and is outraged. The documentation stipulates a shuttle of Orb refugees had been shot down by a pilot in space and as luck might or might not have it, Athrun had been present and swears the situation was different than what the Seirans portrayed. Cagalli sympathizes with Athrun, but she has to uphold her duty as Orb Representative and has no choice but to send the evidence to the International Tribunal and charge the individual, forcing them to defend themselves in court. It's a strained encounter between the two of them, but despite the severity of the news, they agree to keep the secret to themselves while things unfold.

The chapter moves onto a quiet scene between Lexi and Yzak in November where she's kinda musing what it would've been like if she would've stayed with ZAFT. She's trying on Yzak's commander's jacket in the scene and Yzak walks in as she's musing the two of them briefly discussing his work and Lexi noting that Yzak doesn't seem as enthusiastic about his position as he had in the past.

The year jumps forward to the end of December where Lexi and Namarra arrive at the orphanage for a Christmas/end of the year party and they arrive to a bit of drama. Apparently, before they had arrived Dearka had proposed to Miriallia and the response hadn't been as favorable as everyone had anticipated, especially Dearka. When the girls arrive, Dearka and Miriallia are out back having a very loud argument, the words thrown around proving Miriallia's journalism trip might be the large wedge between them. The scene ends with Dearka fleeing, alone, back to space. We get an insight into his thoughts a little bit later in the chapter where we see his new resolve to rejoin ZAFT.

The month moves along into the new year and we find Yzak and Lexi discussing the failed engagement as well as their plans for New Years which have shifted to spending time at the Joule Estate with Yzak's mother. It's the first time Lexi actually speaks to Yzak's mother and while the meeting goes well at the beginning, the facade quickly falls to display an Ezalia Joule who isn't very happy to know Lexi is dating her son. Ezalia and Lexi exchange a tense conversation before the scene ends with Lexi questioning a few things about their relationship as well.

The end of the chapter has us with Cagalli and Lacus, the two of them talking about Cagalli's upcoming conversation with Lexi where the blonde has to finally admit to the secret they've all been keeping. It's a heavy section where they both know tough times are ahead and yet they can't do anything but follow the path laid out for them. Orb will take the pilot to trial for shooting down the shuttle of refugees and all of them will be, unfortunately, swept up in the events.