The great thing about working the Reactor shift was that the vast majority of it could be done remotely. Gavin could wake up in the morning, check the reactor for any sign of wear or damage, then his job was all tablet-based for the remainder of the day (provided nothing dramatic happened). He just needed to monitor the energy throughput and redirect power between different areas whenever there was a higher demand in a particular part of the ship. In short, Gavin got to spend most of his day drifting from section to section, keeping his friends and colleagues company while they worked.
More often than not, he'd spend his morning walking the perimeter with Fletcher, helping him to report any hardware or system issues that cropped up, then he would stop off for a chat with Tina in the air monitoring station, and would inevitably finish his little adventure by stopping at the medbay for the afternoon and wiling away the hours with Nines. Since the contamination threat had been logged and they'd been told to wear their space-suits everywhere, Gavin tried to spend as much time as possible in the medbay so that he could get a break from the humid, uncomfortable suit.
Well, that, and a few other reasons.
As he passed the navigation sector, Gavin greeted Hank and continued through to the air decompression and decontamination chamber that lead to the cafeteria; he figured it was a faster route to the medbay than looping down through the storage rooms and the noisy engine rooms at the other end of the ship - but the compression chambers took their sweet fucking time. Depending on the amount of contaminants present in the chamber, the number of people in the room and the air pressure of the proceeding room, the decontamination process could take anywhere between three and fifteen minutes. Thankfully, the average was closer to five.
Pressing a hand to the door that opened onto the cafeteria, Gavin peered through the viewing panel to see if there was anyone around, hoping to have someone set up the chamber on the other side for when he passed through.
But what he saw turned his blood to ice.
From his limited view-point, Gavin could only see the top half of Daniel's body. But even that was was more than he wanted to see. The canteen manager was still wearing the body section of his yellow space suit, but it was turning red and rust-orange in places as his blood soaked through the coloured fabric. He was motionless, face down on the metal flooring with an arm stretched desperately towards the compression chamber. Even at this distance, Gavin could see the blood pooling beneath his limp form, creating little rivers in the seams between the metal panels and marking his death in a neat grid of gore. Gavin stepped back with a gasp, his heart racing rapidly as another figure came into view.
He couldn't see through the helmet's visor at this distance, not with the glare from his own visor and the distortion from the viewing panel. But he could see that the space suit was white - which was the colour designated to Connor.
As the contamination chamber gave off a loud hiss of pressurized air being released, the figure turned and suddenly became aware of Gavin's presence. He didn't move, just stood and seemed to weigh up his options as Gavin stared back in horror and fear. When the door to this chamber opened, he would be trapped in the cafeteria with Connor... who had just murdered Daniel. He was shaking now, his legs threatening to give way as the doors clicked and started to open.
Oh shit. Oh fuck.
Gavin backed up, jumping sharply as his back pressed to the wall closest to navigation. To safety. Connor just watched for a long moment, then took a heavy, unbalanced step closer. Gavin could see something in his hand and his mind worked overtime to convince him that it was a blade, but he couldn't be sure. Another step closer, and Gavin collapsed against the corner of the room; there was nothing he could do except huddle in the corner, desperately trying to summon the courage to make a break for the other side of the canteen, to open the other decontamination chamber and get out of there. But it would mean running straight past Connor... and physical strength was nothing if Connor had some kind of weapon.
Weapons... In the event of a mutiny or unsafe use of weapons, all doors can be locked simultaneously by activating the emergency response protocol.
The snippet of his training flashed across his mind and Gavin reached for his tablet, fumbling to get it unlocked as Connor approached with uneven steps. He was almost at the door now, ducking a little lower to see Gavin clearly through his visor, but Gavin slammed his thumb to the emergency protocol button and watched as the door to the decontamination chamber slammed shut. An ear piercing siren activated throughout the ship, alerting everyone to the unidentified threat. Almost immediately, a number of voices washed in through the comms channel, talking over each other with confused and worried tones.
"What's going on?"
"What's happening? Who set off the alarm?"
"Is everyone safe? Where's the emergency?"
"Shit, what's happened?"
Gavin squeezed his eyes closed and tried to find his voice, his hands still shaking violently as he tried to set his comms channel to the group setting.
"Connor killed Daniel..." he said quietly.
The voices halted for a brief moment, then there was a fresh outcry of disbelief, shock and renewed worry.
"Where is he now?"
"Gavin, where are you? Are you safe?"
The last had come from Nines, his voice strained and verging on panic. Gavin nodded dumbly, then realised that Nines wouldn't be able to see him.
"I'm in the air compression chamber. I'm ok, but I just saw Connor standing over Daniel's body in the canteen," Gavin explained.
Fletcher's voice cut through the babble, asserting a sense of authority so that they could get a plan in place, "Ok, we'll keep the canteen doors locked tight so he can't get out, but I'll unlock the rest of the rooms. Gavin, go back to navigation. Hank, stay with Gavin and everyone make their way to admin via the store rooms. Then we'll see what needs to be done."
"That sounds like a plan," Gavin agreed, his voice still quiet with shock.
"Just to make sure he's contained, can you look through the viewing panel again and make sure he didn't get into one of the compression rooms before the lockdown? The last thing we want is for him to get out before we can assess the situation," Allen asked.
Gavin whined slightly but forced himself to get back to his feet and approach the door, peeking into the canteen and scanning the room. He desperately kept his eye level as high as he dared, not wanting to look at Daniel again - not like that... But Connor was nowhere to be seen. Gavin could see the whole room, save for the small blindspot to his right where the door blocked his view of the adjoining wall.
"I... I can't see him," Gavin announced. "Tina, can you get eyes on the canteen?"
"Roger that, I'll check the security system... Oh fuck. Daniel... Confirmed, we have one crewmate down. Looks like fatal lacerations to his torso and stomach. But I can't see Connor anywhere on the screen."
To Gavin's horror, Connor's voice came through on the comms channel. "Hey, sorry, I was sleeping through my lunch break and the siren woke me up. Then I couldn't find my damn space-suit to link into comms, what's going on?"
The comms channel went silent.
"Tina?" Gavin asked, not voicing his query but knowing that she would understand.
There was a pause, then an uncertain, "Affirmative. I've got sights on Connor."
"What's going on, why do you need sights on me?" Connor asked, his tone growing worried.
"Con, have you been in your room for the whole last hour?" Hank asked.
"Yeah, like I said, I was sleeping on my lunch break. I kept getting woken up by that damn monitoring alarm last night so I was tired. What's going on?"
"Connor... Daniel's dead. Gavin said he saw someone in your suit in the canteen and they're not there anymore."
Connor didn't respond for a long moment, either processing the information or thinking up an alibi - Gavin wasn't sure which was more likely. Finally Connor answered in a quiet voice.
"It wasn't me."