Luke and I met up first thing and got our Schedule of Works. We were running an inspection, upgrading some isolinear chips and recalibrating them. It's very precise work, simple but time-consuming. We divided the schedule up into two parts and I followed Luke into the first Jeffries tube. There he trained me on exactly what needed to be done and how to log any anomalies or problems so that when we met up at the end of each hour, we could swap schedules and he could address the problems I couldn't fix before he began his new one. The system worked very well and it also meant that each of us could give a quick double-check for clues in the area the other had just covered. As for clues to the Beast... there weren't any.
"Whatever this thing is, it's incredibly clean," I said to Luke.
"What of it's just using the vents and tubes to get from nest to food source?" suggested Luke.
"But we don't know what it eats."
"No, but..." and Luke pulled out a datapad and called up a schematic of the Jeffries tubes and vents in the area of our quarters, "...we know it frequents this area."
"But that's all we know."
"Is it though?"
"What do you mean?"
"It obviously doesn't go anywhere near the Engineers or Officers' quarters otherwise they would have heard it."
"But they just write it off as the deck plates moving."
"Not if they heard it, they wouldn't. An experienced officer or engineer would know it was something else."
"So why did you think differently then?"
"After the liberation of our colony, I worked on transport ships hauling cargo across the sector. Every night for three years, I listened to deck plates moving. True, each ship makes its own noises, but... we... I think you just get a feel for these things."
"Okay, so if we scrub out the tubes and vents near the Engineers and Officers' quarters and highlight the ones we know it inhabits, what have we got?"
It was still a very big area.
"Okay, what about potential food sources? Where could it get its nutrition from?"
We stared at the datapad.
"There isn't anywhere," said Luke despondently. "All food is replicated and scraps are decompiled for recycling, and we are nowhere near any storage areas."
"No, it's not like we have a real kitchen anymore. We had to make one for the Dirrian delegation."
We were feeling pretty down at that point, and then a flash of inspiration came to me.
"But what if a crewmember had made a kitchen in their quarters to produce real food?" I asked.
"Why would someone do that?"
"Perhaps they don't like replicated food?" I suggested.
"So now we need to study the fads of crewmembers with quarters along here," said Luke, pointing to the datapad. "And how do you suggest we do that?"
"Galley. Process of elimination. We see who is eating there and who isn't. Can you get a schematic of who occupies which quarters?"
"Yes, I think I can," and Luke tapped away at the datapad. "Yes! Here we go."
We studied the list.
"Okay then. Time for dinner, I reckon," and we toddled off to the galley.