The 'neutral' space colony of Heliopolis houses Morgenroete, a top-secret weapons research facility specializing in producing the battleship Archangel and five prototype Gundams for the Earth Alliance Force. ZAFT, the rebel army composed of genetically modified humans known as Coordinators, attacks Heliopolis, stealing four of the five prototypes. Civilian Kira Yamato, a Coordinator raised by Natural parents, stumbles upon the Gundam Strike during the attack. He pilots the mobile suit for the Earth Alliance Force in order to protect his Natural friends and finds himself locked in mortal combat with his childhood best friend, Coordinator Athrun Zala, who is now an ace pilot for ZAFT. Their friendship is not the only thing at stake; the survival of an entire race depends on the outcome of this war.