Lian Xing is a special operations field agent who is the former second-in-command to Gabriel Logan in the IPCA and former operative working in the shadowy Agency under Edward Benton. Lian is Gabe's closest ally throughout the entire series, serving as either his combat teammate or tactical advisor via radio.
Lian Xing was a former agent of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) until her defection to the Agency in the 90s. While working for China, she was married to the scientist Shen Rei, and Lian also trained under the assassin codenamed Trinidad. By become a career operative, Lian stayed with the country until events in Afghanistan led her to consider other paths. Her defection to the USA tarnished Trinidad's reputation, and her mentor fruitlessly attempted to regain trust with the MSS, an act that did not come to fruition until she was sent to investigate the disappearance of Xing and Rei.
The MSS dispatched her to investigate the troop movements of Soviet Commander Uri Gregorov. Lian aided an American soldier named Gabriel Logan, and then became a captive by the Soviets. A developing trust with Gregorov allowed for her release, and in the nineties she left Shen to defect. The Agency gave her a false background while putting in training with Thomas Holman until she could serve as Logan's partner.
Lian was Gabe's radio backup throughout the early Syphon Filter mission, but after Erich Rhoemer's men caught her in Kazakhstan and made her one of the test subjects for the virus. Gabe found her to learn that the vaccine he carried, supplied by Markinson, was ineffective, and Lian's analysis later showed it to be a chemical used in lethal injections. Lian followed Gabe to PharCom's warehouses in hopes of securing a real vaccine, but they were unsuccessful, and Lian was captured again after the arrival of Dillon Morgan.
The Agency tried to extract her plasma for the incubating virus, but she escaped and aided Logan's departure from Colorado. As the effects of Syphon Filter grew, she was unable to help and nearly died until Gabe returned with the vaccine from New York City. Lian would then support Gabe through the trials orchestrated by conspirator Vincent Hadden, and afterward she became second in command of the Agency.
She accompanied Logan on several searches related to the Omega Strain outbreaks, diverting to track other criminals that tried to obtain the virus. Agency personnel reported seeing visible concern of the behavior displayed by Logan as he became more determined to stop the Syphon Filter conspiracy. Lian continued to aid Gabe after an Agency suspension by Alex Birchim, and together they brought down the final threats.
Lian would remain Logan's partner through the Dark Mirror and X-Z-2 assignments, often assisting him personally or via radio. She was instrumental in the recovery of his daughter, Blake, and the defeat of Red Section. Lian was forced to return to Shen when his X-Z-2 device was stolen by terrorists, but Shen eventually killed himself rather than risk her life and his own. With the mission complete, Lian learned that Gabe Logan planned on retiring, but Trinidad appeared again and targeted her, only to die in a gunfight with Logan. He sustained critical injuries, and Lian was left to try and revive him.
Personality and characteristics
"She was always, let's say, emotionally detached. Isn't she still?"
Trinidad describes Lian to Gabe.
Lian seems to be calm and lucid, despite being infected with Syphon Filter. She is also a vicious aggressor, especially with bladed weapons.
- The first Syphon Filter instruction manual lists Lian as being born in California and having obtained several degrees from U.S. Universities. However, this is retconned in the Syphon Filter 2 manual in the following quotation - "Originally an agent for the Chinese MSS, she was recruited in 1996 by the Agency and given a new identity as an American citizen including fake biographical information".
- There are some conflicting dates in the instruction manuals and a mission in Logan's Shadow regarding Lian's background. Excluding the first Syphon Filter's manual, Syphon Filter 2 and 3 list her as being in the Agency from 1995-2000 (though SF2 says "Present", as they were still Operatives at the time). However, both Backgrounds describe her as being recruited in 1996 rather than 1995.
- In addition, both books list her as being in the Chinese MSS starting in 1989. However, she was already on a mission for the MSS as early as 1987 when she first met Gabe in Kabul, Afghanistan. The manual from Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror states that she was appointed to her first government job at the age of seventeen and began working for the MSS, Chinese secret service, before she was twenty. However she states in her testimony to Vince Hadden that she was on an assignment for the MSS. In Logan's Shadow, the briefing for a bonus mission says Lian completed her first mission for the MSS in 1992, completely contradicting SF3.
- Lian is the only lead protagonist with over three different voice actors. She is also one of several characters to have a different voice actor since the first game, with Mara Aramov holding the record of a different voice actor for each of her appearances in the series until The Omega Strain. The same could be said for Vince Hadden, whose voice changed in each title of the original trilogy.
- Unlike Gabe, whose hair often changes between titles, Lian has always had her hair parted in the center and cut mid-length down to her jaw. In the second game it appears however that some strands are divided along the center of her forehead.
- Lian's missions are mostly based around stealth, though can develop into action sequences depending on the level. Gabe on the other hand is given more action sequences, with only some stealth.
- Lian, with the exception of Teresa (as she was not present in the first title), is the only female character to live through all of the games.
- In Omega Strain, Dark Mirror and Logan's Shadow, Lian was voiced by Kim Mai Guest, who voices Mei Ling from the Metal Gear Solid series.
- As with Mara Aramov, she shares the trait of always being captured. She is first caught by Rhoemer (Syphon Filter), then the Agency (Syphon Filter 2), Jimmy Zhou (Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror) and finally Ghassan al-Bitar (Logan's Shadow).
- Lian is also the only lead protagonist out of the original four who is not potentially dead (where as two of the other three are left unknown while the third is shown to be dead, due to a cliffhanger ending in the last title).
- Unlike Stone, she is a combat knife expert.
- In SF3's multiplayer game, Lian tends to taunt her enemy with her sharp tone:
- "Get on your knees and beg!"
- "You don't want to make me angry."
- "What are you aiming at?"
- "Are we having fun yet?"
- "Surrender yourself!"
- "How dare you shoot a lady?!"
- "How many times do I have to kill you?"
- "You're going down!"
- "Go outside and soak some sun!"
- "Oh, I'm so scared!" (sarcasm)