Cosmic Era 71 – The Bloody Valentine War between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT had reached a bitter stalemate. The Earth Alliance began developing its own mobile suits to counter ZAFT’s Coordinator pilots and mobile suits and to break through the impasse.
In January of CE 71, ZAFT confirmed that the Earth Alliance had created five prototype mobile suits known as Gundams. A strike team under the command of Rau Le Creuset arrived in the colony of Heliopolis on January 25 to steal the prototype Gundams and destroy the Alliance warship known as the Archangel. In the ensuing battle that followed, Heliopolis was ultimately destroyed due to catastrophic collateral damage caused by ZAFT troops and surviving Alliance personnel.
Over the next several weeks, Le Creuset and ZAFT would pursue the Archangel and the Strike Gundam, the only mobile suit not stolen by ZAFT, as the Archangel crew made their way to Earth.