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a close-up of those cat-sharp green eyes
reaching into pocket
pointing gun
ah, damn, you know what`s coming.
super-uber close-up of Lin with gun.
I would never betray you...

a big ARIGATO . SIE-SIE . GRAZIE . MERCI to Stosh for the screencaps
TONGARI Lin::who?

On the left is a picture of Lin. Note his super-uber coolness. If you've watched a reasonable amount of Cowboy Bebop, you might have noticed him in sessions #12 and #13, the beautiful two-parter Jupiter Jazz; the more astute will have noted that he only ever appears in sessions #12 and #13, flashbacks in the penultimate session (#25) not included.

SPOILERS lie ahead for Bebop watchers who have not yet seen the aforementioned episode, and in fact probably a great deal of the series.

Lin appears standing respectfully behind Vicious in a dark and spooky meeting-place where The Van, three old men who apparently run the Red Dragon syndicate, are talking to Vicious. His voice, which we first hear reciting details to the Van, seems terribly cold, but not with the bitterness that laces Vicious's words; Lin seems to be habitually formal, a creature of training and habit and, as we discover later when he is walking to their ship with Vicious, honour. For now, the Van tells him, "Lin... You shall go with Vicious." And he, forever obedient to the will of the syndicate, says, "Hai."

Lin's following feats include standing between a loaded gun and Vicious; shooting Spike Siegel with a tranquilizer (can't be a dart, must be a bullet); and eventually getting between a bullet and Vicious. See, you knew that was coming. The part which leaves great room for speculation (and the existence of Tongari) is Lin's past, and his future.

Past? In #12, he drops his emotionless voice to say, "Spike-san!" when Spike steps out of shadows; Spike, in turn, recognises him, tells him, "Hey, Lin. You've grown big." Vicious, too, informs us that Lin 'used to work for' Spike, but now, things have changed. So: Lin is very young, so much so that when Spike left Red Dragon, he was probably still a teenager. And Spike cannot bring himself to shoot Lin when the boy steps in front of Vicious - we see, in fact, Spike's face going all contorty and screwy, and Spike's devil-may-care tone changes to a low, desperate, "Oi, Lin, get out of the way!"

For a story and manga on Lin's past in the Red Dragon, with Spike, Vicious and Julia and of course his funky-haired twin brother Shin, see art::story.

Future? The more pessimistic viewer might say, he's dead, leave him that way. But this is the future, where humans travel through space like a knife cutting through bread; in the cyberpunk future of William Gibson, where space travel was not half as advanced, biomedical technology enabled surgeons to almost completely replace a human body with vat-grown parts. The Van, surely, recognised Lin's dedication to the syndicate, and as there are few people willing to die for your cause, you surely cannot afford to lose too many of them. Besides - and this is crucial - to all intents and purposes, Lin was left on top of the building where he was shot. Vicious certainly wasn't going to stop and bury him. Spike was headed after Vicious, then he ran into Gren, thought of Julia, had massive headfuck, went home to the Bebop.

So it's possible that the Van did intervene in those few moments between when a man gets shot and when he dies. Well. I know he looked pretty dead when he hit the ground, but I'll attribute that to shock.

[Here] is a discussion on Nightfall's Bebop BBS about Lin, Shin and Julia.

Finally: Tongari? Yes. If Nic Wolfwood could call Vash that, I can use it too. It means 'spiky-head', and can be applied to Trigun's Vash, Mugen no Jyuunin's Magatsu Taito, and my own ultimate Sonic the ninja-punker as well as Lin.

The Warm Trombone