Amuro Deserts is the seventeenth episode of Mobile Suit Gundam. It aired in Japan on July 28, 1979 and in North America on August 13, 2001.
The White Base continues to cross the desert in Asia in the middle of the night. Amuro is busy on the bridge crunching combat data from the Zaku that the crew managed to capture, and he is planning to use it to program more accurate combat patterns into the Gundam. Kai asks him what he's going to do for the new mobile suit that the prisoner, Cozun mentioned, the Gouf. Amuro says that for that suit, he will just added a 20% increase in capability to the Zaku data. Kai then relieves Mirai from her post at the helm of White Base.
On her way back down to her room, checks in on Bright and Cozun. Bright is trying to get Cozun to talk, but he won't, finding it hard to believe that someone so young can be the ship's commander. Later, as Amuro is walking down the hallway past Mirai's room, he slips in a puddle of water that is seeping out from beneath her door. The door opens and an agitated Kikka starts pleading with him to fix the tap, which has sprung a leak. Amuro enters the room and fixes the tap by fishing the knob out of the sink and screwing it back onto the faucet, although not before awkwardness ensues when a nude Mirai almost steps out of the bathroom in front of Amuro, not realizing he is there.
Elsewhere in the desert, Ramba Ral and Hamon are looking over a Zaku II that has just been repaired as they are resupplied. The supply and repair corps depart in the Fat Uncle, and Ral asks Hamon what movements the Trojan Horse has made. Hamon asks him what he hopes to get out of the upcoming mission. Ral says that they are carrying out a vendetta for the Zabi family and that should they be successful, he will get a special two rank promotion. He says that the promotion is for his men and their livelihoods as well as for Hamon, who would then get to "live the good life" up next to the Zabi family, as the lover of a high-ranking officer.
Back on White Base, Job John and Omar Fang have thrown Cozun back into solitary. Once they leave, the Cozun pulls a fake molar made of plastic explosives out of his mouth, which they had failed to find on him. He attaches the tooth wire to a wire held in his pants and wraps it around the doorknob, sparking the fuse and blowing the lock on the door. He leaves the cell and starts down the hallway, but stops outside of Sayla's cell. He asks her if she's Zeon and offers to break her out, but instead she yells, alerting the guards to his escape. Cozun runs off into the depths of White Base.
Up on the bridge, White Base has begun to engage in a sortie as they approach a Zeon mining base. Bright requests Amuro launch in the Gundam. Amuro accepts the order, and says to have the Gunperry ready, as he may engage in a mid-air conversion. First, however - and without telling Bright - Amuro launches with Hayato in the Guntank, thinking it would be better suited for the battle. Hayato remarks that Amuro's going to catch hell from Bright when he finds out, but Amuro brushes it off.
Meanwhile, Bright is informed that Cozun has escaped. Bright authorizes the use of "deadly force" and entrusts Sayla with looking for him. While Bright has the operators search the ship, Sayla proceeds to the radio room as she suspects that Cozun would be trying to contact his unit. Sure enough, Cozun has broken into the radio room and is attempting to contact Ramba Ral. The bridge becomes aware that a message is being sent from Communication Room 2, so they cut the master comm circuit - although not before Cozun is able to send some important data to the Gallop. As he leaves the room, Cozun bumps into Sayla. They scuffle, and he knocks her gun away, buying himself time to escape while she retrieves it. Mirai wonders how much data he was able to send.
Outside, the sortie rages on. Amuro and Hayato continue to attack the Zeon base with the Guntank. Amuro remarks that Bright doesn't understand tactics, and that it's not always best to send the Gundam out every single time. Meanwhile, the men at the base are wondering why they're getting attacked. They haven't heard much from M'Quve but are getting assistance from Ramba Ral, causing them to realize that the Federation's Trojan Horse and mobile suit are attacking them. Cozun continues to try and escape White Base and Sayla chases him towards a hatch. Ryu and Kai are launched into battle and Amuro is ordered to convert to Gundam. Ramba Ral launches with a pair of soldiers.
Meanwhile, Cozun has reached the airlock and locked himself inside, strapping on a nearby jetpack and preparing to bail out of the ship. Sayla finds herself unable to open the door, so Omar fires a bazooka at it. The ensuing blast not only blows the door open but catches Cozun in the back, killing him and sending his body to the desert below. Sayla and Omar look on in shock, and Sayla remarks that the same thing could happen to them.
Amuro prepares to launch in the Gundam and is told to cover Kai. He is surprised to see Sayla on his monitor as she is supposed to be in solitary confinement. Sayla tells Bright about the death of Cozun. Meanwhile, Kai is falling victim to Ramba Ral's Gouf and is very freaked out by it. Amuro launches in Gundam and gets to him in the nick of time. Amuro, now fighting the Gouf realizes that his combat algorithms are no good. Ramba Ral is forced to retreat when a turret from White Base blows up a nearby mining base turret and creates a shockwave, which fries the joints on the Gouf. Amuro returns to White Base.
On the bridge, Bright chews out Amuro for not following orders. Amuro objects, asking if he and the other civilian volunteers on the ship are even actually soldiers. After Amuro leaves, Mirai says a few words in his defense, but Bright brushes them off.
Later, in the hangar, Amuro realizes that he is going to have to completely reprogram all of the combat data in the Gundam's computer. The sleepy Amuro soon slips into a nap. Soon after, Bright and Mirai come by, with Bright insistent that Amuro be removed from Gundam and replaced by someone else. Their conversation awakens Amuro who hears it. His pride deeply wounded Amuro runs out of the room crying. Mirai starts after him to comfort him, but Bright stops her.
Later, Amuro walks down the hall in his street clothes and tells Fraw Bow that he is leaving White Base. He snaps at her when she tries to ask him more and flees towards the hangar. Amuro jumps into the Gundam and takes off. Bright is alerted to the Gundam's departure and runs up onto the bridge just in time to see it disappear into the black desert night.