| Gateway Shuffle|
|Previous Session|| Honky Tonk Women|
|Next Session|| Ballad of Fallen Angels|
|Original Airdate||November 14, 1998|
"Gateway Shuffle" is the fourth session, or episode, of Cowboy Bebop.
In order of appearance:
- Faye Valentine
- Jet Black
- Spike Spiegel
- Twinkle Maria Murdock
- Space Warriors
- Gett the ISSP Mole
- Ganymede ISSP Chief Minister
After escaping from the Bebop in "Honky Tonk Woman", Faye runs out of fuel in her Red Tail and drifts through space near Ganymede. She encounters a wrecked ship with a homing beacon and decides to investigate.
Spike and Jet order breakfast at a Ganymede space port restaurant where they've tracked down a bounty named Morgan. Using a pair of Steampunk-inspired computerized Glasses with face morphing capabilities, Jet confirms with 94.2% accuracy that the target is Morgan.
Also eating at the restaurant are the Space Warriors, a group of eco-terrorists, with their leader Twinkle Maria Murdock. The Space Warriors confront Morgan when he boisterously demands his Sea Rat Sauté. They pull out machine guns and open fire on everyone at his table and around the restaurant. They drop a canister behind that emits a hologram and upbeat tune with a female's voice:
Jet tells Spike that Twinkle Maria Murdock has a 25 million Woolong bounty on her head and Spike stops Twinkle Maria at gunpoint before she can escape. The rest of the Space Warriors are forced to leave without their leader while Spike and Jet are forced to leave without Morgan because he’s been killed.
Faye finds a man in a life support pod named Gett inside the wrecked ship. He was a mole working for the ISSP that infiltrated the Space Warriors and stole a sample of virus. He asks Faye to deliver a case containing the virus to the ISSP without telling Faye what it is. Faye curiously opens the case, unaware of what it holds.
The bounty on Twinkle Maria Murdock is dropped when the Ganymede ISSP Chief Minister negotiates with the Space Warriors who threaten to release the virus unless the ISSP brings them back Twinkle Maria, whom they affectionately call Mom.
Faye, still out of fuel, flags down the Bebop by mistake and is brought in and handcuffed to a ladder on the Bebop—she had previously stolen their money, gambled it away at a casino, and on top of that still has a large bounty on her head. Spike rummages through Faye’s belongings and finds the virus sample, catching Twinkle Maria’s attention but no one else’s. After twisting and stomping on the protective shell of the virus, Spike takes his gun and shoots the shell but unknowingly protects the virus inside.
Jet contacts his own friend, Bob, who is a part of the ISSP on Ganymede. At first Bob won't talk about the cancelled bounty, but Jet blackmails him by implying that he knew Bob stole confiscated "illegal eye drops" (possibly Red Eye) back when Jet and Bob worked in the same department.
Bob accepts and tells Jet that the Space Warriors are holding the 8 million inhabitants of Ganymede hostage with a new virus called Monkey Business that affects the 2% difference between human and monkey DNA structure and mutates all humans into monkeys while leaving all other animals and plants unharmed.
Without a bounty to collect the Bebop is forced to airlock with the Space Warriors’ ship and release Twinkle Maria Murdock, but not before Spike covertly slips the virus into Maria’s pocket.
Back in negotiations, the Chief Minister says he passed a bill to limit the harvesting of Sea Rats but Twinkle Maria wanted to prohibit Sea Rat harvesting. She decides to demonstrate the virus’s power by releasing it into Ganymede.
ISSP Cruisers pursue the Space Warrior's ship into the Wasteland Sector but learn the ship is a decoy when it explodes and takes them out with it. Twinkle Maria makes a speech on a live broadcast and Spike tracks their signal as coming from hyperspace.
Spike takes the Swordfish II out to collect the recently re-posted bounty on the Space Warriors and stop the virus before it hits Ganymede. He manages to take out two missiles with his charge cannon but can't recharge and hit a third missile before it lands. He has to offer Faye 60% of the bounty to handle the third missile in her Red Tail. She engages the third missile but it breaks off into a cluster of warheads.
Faye and Spike disengage and escape from hyperspace as the Astral Gate is closed by the Ganymede government. The cluster missiles continue to travel in hyperspace on another plane of reality without hitting anything. The Space Warriors are trapped in hyperspace too and after stopping at the closed gate, Twinkle Maria falls forward and the sample virus escapes her pocket and smashes, releasing the virus into the ship’s cabin and infecting the Space Warriors.
Back on the Bebop, Faye consoles Spike and Jet on losing their bounty but says they’ll make some big bucks on the next one, effectively joining the crew of the Bebop on her own terms.
- “Attention. We the Space Warriors are eco-soldiers who work night and day to preserve the environment and protect endangered species all over the universe. Thank you for your cooperation.”
- — Space Warriors hologram message
- “Please do not associate us with common terrorists. We are warriors of peace fighting a noble battle for the law of nature.”
- — Twinkle Maria Murdock
- “Yeah yeah. We saw how peaceful you are.”
- — Spike Spiegel
- “You know what they say, cowboy, easy come, easy go.”
- — Faye Valentine
Themes and Motifs Edit
- Handcuffs: Faye is back in handcuffs once the Bebop picks her up. She was seen in handcuffs twice during "Honky Tonk Women".
- Steampunk Glasses: Jet uses a pair of Steampunk-inspired computerized glasses that connect in some way to a computer aboard the Bebop. They are able to zoom like a camera's viewfinder and deconstruct facial features to see if an individual has had reconstructive surgery. These glasses appear throughout the series.
- Missed Bounty: Not collecting on the bounties of Faye Valentine and Twinkle Maria Murdock are examples of the Bebop's crew missing bounties. Throughout the series they either decide not to collect on a bounty or fail to collect.
- Neutral Good: This refers to the lawful juxtaposition of the Bebop to the ISSP and criminals based on Role-Playing Alignment. The crew of the Bebop are often caught in the middle of lawful and unlawful, such as in this session where Spike and Jet are forced to release a criminal, Twinkle Maria Murdock, because the Inter-Solar System Police have dropped the bounty. If they don't release her, they will be charged with kidnapping even though Maria Murdock is holding the Ganymede ISSP hostage.
- Ganymede is the largest moon of Jupiter and the largest natural satellite in the Solar system. Ganymede is composed of silicate rock and water ice. Evidence shows that the moon has a tenuous oxygen based atmosphere and possible salt-water ocean beneath its icy crust.