Technology & Combat Characteristics
During the One Year War, technology advanced quickly, and ships ordered during the war quickly became obsolete as developments in mobile suit technology rapidly outpaced ship weaponry. Albion was not actually commissioned until three years after the war ended, in UC 0083, though the carrier was commissioned in time to respond to and adequately deal with the final Principality of Zeon offensive, Operation Stardust. Albion looks very different from her earlier sisters, such as Grey Phantom and White Base.
- Mega Particle Gun
- 2-barrel Main Gun Turret
- 2-barrel Secondary Gun Turret
- 2-barrel Anti-Ground Laser Gun Turret
- 2-barrel Anti-Aircraft Laser Gun Turret
- Large Missile Launcher
On 13 October UC 0081, the Earth Federation passed the "Federation Forces Reconstruction Plan", aimed at get the Earth Federal Forces back into shape. As part of this plan, the "Gundam Development Plan" was secretly started, with the expressed purpose of developing Mobile Suits that could outperform the Zeonic Company's MS. Included in the Gundam Development Plan were designs for the next generation of the Pegasus class assault carrier: The Albion.
The Albion was a departure from the original Pegasus-class ships in several ways. Through extensive use of computers and automation, most of her weaponry could be controlled from inside the ship's hull, reducing the risk placed on crewmembers responsible for defending the ship. Albion's standard Minovsky propulsion system was augmented by an experimental Laser Propulsion System that used mirrored receptors to catch laser bursts from the moon, which allowed Albion to escape from the moon's gravitational hold more easily. But the most drastic change was in Albion's mobile suit launch procedure: rather than exposing the hangar deck to flight operations and combat conditions, Albion had a lift system that moved mobile suits topside to the external launch catapult, thereby protecting the MS hangers and field personnel inside. The lift system became an instant hit with the Earth Federal Space Force, and became standard equipment on refitted Salamis Kai class ships.
The Albion launched from the lunar city Von Braun on 7 October UC 0083, with Captain Eiphar Synapse commanding. Albion received both the RX-78GP01 Gundam "Zephyranthes" (Unit 1) and the RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis" (Unit 2), and orders instructing Synapse to take his ship to Torrington base in Australia, where the new suits could be field tested under Earth's gravity. Captain Synapse arrived on 13 October as scheduled, and presented Torrington's base commander with paperwork instructing him to load both suits with live ammunition — and the paperwork instructing Torrington's base commander to load Unit 2 with an MK-82 tactical nuclear warhead.
Shortly after sunset, the Delaz Fleet commenced Operation Stardust, beginning with Anavel Gato's hijack of Gundam Unit 2. Once the terrestrial Zeon remnants confirmed Gato had secured the Gundam, MS-09F/trop Dom Tropens and one YMS-16M Xamel launched a raid against Torrington to help divert the Federation's search parties. Although Gato was pursued by Kou Uraki, who commandeered Gundam Unit 1, he managed to escape from Torrington through the aid of a friendly Zeon submarine. Albion was heavily damaged in the raid, thanks in part to powerful multi-missiles fired from the same Zeon submarine. While undergoing repairs at Torrington, Captain Synapse received a change in orders: Ascertain the location of the stolen Gundam, and if necessary, destroy it. Along with those orders came a full complement of Mobile Suits and pilots: Chuck Keith and Kou Uraki, originally stationed at Torrington, were reassigned to Albion, along with Bernard Monsha, Alpha A. Bate, and Chap Adel. Commanding the newly formed Albion MS contingent was Lt. South Burning.
Following the last known course of the Zeon submarine, Albion departed from Torrington on 14 October and arrived in Africa on 16 October. One week later Albion succeeded in locating the stolen Gundam, but failed to secure it. Zeon's Kimberlite Base MS unit, composed of about six old Zaku II F2 types and four Dom Tropens, engaged Albion's MS units, buying enough time for Anavel Gato to escape into space aboard a Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV). Once in space, Gato and the stolen Gundam Unit 2 were caught in the crossfire between two of the Federation's Salamis class cruisers and a pair of Musai's, which included Gato's flagship, the Peer Gynt. Using the position of this battle as a starting point Albion proceeded into space and requested additional help with the task of locating the stolen mobile suit. General Kowen granted the request, assigning two Salamis class cruisers to assist; unfortunately, both were destroyed and the Gundam heavily damaged by Cima Garahau and her men.
The Albion proceeded to Von Braun, where the ship was docked for resupply. During this port call Anaheim Electronics took custody of the damaged Unit 1, upgrading it into the RX-78GP01Fb Gundam Zephyranthes Full Burnern — a version refitted for space combat. Departing Von Braun on 4 November, Albion proceeded to the Sea of Solomon to resume its search for the missing Gundam Unit 2. Between 4 November and 6 November Albion supported Gundam Unit 1 as it conducted weapons tests with an experimental beam rifle. On 6 November Albion detected a Papua class resupply ship and began pursuit of the vessel after it failed to respond a message requesting that the ship identify itself. Believing the ship to belong to the Delaz fleet, Captain Synapse ordered Albion to begin pursuit and launched mobile suits at the fleeing vessel. During the MS launch a Chivvay-class ship opened fired on Albion, disabling one of the launch catapults. Despite the damage Albion and the Chivvay-class ship began to exchanged fire; meanwhile the disabled catapult became functional and Gundam Unit 1 was launched into battle. Unit 1 opened fired on the Chivvay-class vessel, striking an ammunition storage bay and prompting the crew of the Chivvay-class ship to abandon ship; however the vessel was sped up in an effort to make a kamikaze attack. At the last second, Albion opened fire with her main gun, destroying the Chivvay-class ship with 1500m to spare. Although damaged during the battle Albion continued on to the Sea of Solomon to resume her search for the missing Unit 2.
On 8 November Admiral Green Wyatt, the supreme commander of the Earth Federal Space Force, rendezvoused with Cima Garahau and her men in what was meant to be a covert meeting. Unfortunately, while both parties were meeting Albion inadvertently wandered into to the rendezvous area. Unaware of the ongoing secret meeting and believing Admiral Wyatt's battleship to be under attack Synapse ordered Albion's MS unit to launch. Cima and her men promptly retreated from the battlefield, but their Zanzibar II-class cruiser Lili Marleen was unable to outdistance itself from Albion's MS units, so Cima and her men launched from their ship to provide cover fire. To support the illusion that Albion was protecting the battleship Birmingham Admiral Wyatt ordered Birmingham to fire her main guns at the retreating Lili Marleen while making sure that the shots missed. Birmingham's shot missed Lili Marleen, but did hit one of Cima's Musai class cruisers, thereby ensuring Cima's escape. Cima and her MS team engaged Lt. South Burning and his MS team, during which time two MS from Lili Marleen were lost. During the battle Lt. Burning recovered a suitcase containing valuable information on Operation Stardust, unfortunately while returning to Albion his Mobile Suit self destructed as a result of damage incurred while battling Cima. The death of Lt. Burning came as shock to those aboard Albion, especially to the MS pilots Bernard Monsha, Alpha A. Bate and Chap Adel, as they had all served under Lt. Burning in the 04th MS Team during the One Year War. Following Lt. Burnings death Captain Synapse exercised his command authority and promoted Alpha A. Bate and Kou Uraki one rank.
On 10 November, Albion was en route to the Naval Review when the missing Gundam Unit 2 was suddenly spotted heading directly toward the Federation fleet. Albion went into hyperdrive, launching all of her mobile suits in an effort to intercept Unit 2 before it reached the review, but the Mobile Suits failed to catch up in time, and Gundam Unit 2's MK-82 nuclear weapon was launched into the middle of the Federation's fleet. Fully 2/3rds of the Federation's fleet were destroyed or disabled. At the same time, two colonies were hijacked in mid transfer, sending one toward the moon. Captain Synapse ordered Albion to sail for La Vie en Rose, where he (forcefully) acquired the experimental Mobile Armor RX-78GP03 Gundam Denbrobium, then departed at high speed toward the Delaz Fleet's hijacked colony, which was now headed for Earth. As Albion approached the colony Synapse received new orders from Bask Om to defend the Solar System II deployment with Cima's fleet. Synapse reluctantly complied, and ordered Gundam Unit 3 launched against the Delaz Fleet. Despite an heroic effort from Kou Uraki and the Gundam Unit 3, the colony crossed over the point of no return, eventually impacting the American Midwest, none-the-less a heavily damaged Albion continued fighting until the last.
With the conclusion of Operation Stardust the Federation opened court martials against certain people for actions undertaken during the crisis. For stealing Unit 3, Kou Uraki was sentenced to one year of hard labor, and Synapse was sentenced to death. Since the development of nuclear weapons was in violation of the Antarctic Treaty, all records of Gundam Unit 2 and subsequent events were deleted from official records, and the sentences likewise suspended.
It is unclear whether the Albion survived the damages incurred during the Delaz Fleet crisis, as the ship is not seen past UC 0083.
Notes and Trivia
- Synapse's request for identification was to determine whether the Papua-class ship was part of the legitimate Republic of Zeon fleet or part of the renegade Delaz Fleet. The Republic of Zeon, located at Side 3, had been allowed to maintain their armed service branches at the end of the One Year War provided that they met all terms and conditions set forth by the Earth Federation in the Treaty of Granada. One of the terms of the treaty provided for the existence of limited armed service branches for the Republic of Zeon that would be subject to periodic inspections by the Federation. Determining whether a Zeon ship was with the Republic or with an anti-Federation movement was often difficult to do, especially in light of the fact that the Republic of Zeon operates the same ships that the Principality of Zeon had operated.
- Tokyopop books. Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory Technical Manual. ISBN 1931514062
- Animerica. Gundam Official Guide ISBN 1569317399