Zander was a risk taker, often pushing the crews under him to work until the last minute before returning to the safety of the station. He was also an avid reader, often sneaking off to the library near the power station to bring back more books, despite the risk.
On his last trip to the library, Zander discovered a room full of the bodies of dead children, apparently killed by their caregivers to save them from viral attack. Like so many in the Colony, he was already suffering from the psychological strain of their desperate situation. His horror at the situation was the last straw, leaving him susceptible to the mental influence of the virals. Eventually his mind broke under the pressure, and he took Caleb out into the field shortly before sundown, then trapped him there. What little sanity remained led him to force Caleb up a tower, where the boy was safer from attack by virals.
During the time that they were in the field, Zander was bitten by a viral and turned. Afterwards he returned to the power station—which must have been more of a home to him than the Colony itself—where Peter Jaxon shot him with one of the rifles his father had hidden at the station.