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We're on the move again and should reach the Temple sometime this afternoon. Fortunately, there's not as much tension between me and Vicki as there was last night, because she decided to break the awkward silence during breakfast by asking me about the Temple that we're taking her to. She was just curious to know what we do there, and she actually seemed interested when I started talking about Dogen and his interpreter, the various ancient symbols on the walls, and the pool that seems to have mysterious healing powers. Aldo interrupted our conversation when he came back from doing his business and then started getting all paranoid again about me revealing too much to an outsider. We haven't talked much since then.
We encountered another Oceanic survivor in the jungle today. It's Claire Littleton, the one who gave birth on the Island about five weeks after the crash (and was at one point supposedly planning to give her baby over to us to be adopted but apparently changed her mind). We were walking through the jungle, and she just out-of-the-blue started shooting at us! Luckily for us, she's either a horrible shot, or she was just firing warning shots, or both. It turns out she thought we had taken Vicki prisoner, and she was attempting to rescue her. So Vicki assured Claire that everything was okay and introduced me as her ex-fiancee. We let Vicki talk with Claire in private for a few minutes, and she somewhat convinced Claire that we're not here to harm her.
Claire explained to us that she found her father on the Island last week and that he's currently taking care of her. She also said that her father saw "the others" (i.e. our people) steal her baby a few days ago! Now, that makes absolutely no sense, because all of our people were taking refuge inside the Temple at the time that Claire says her baby was kidnapped. But of course, she doesn't believe that. Anyway, Claire said that her father left yesterday to go look for her baby. She then took us to an old wooden cabin where she and her father have been staying. No one knows who built it, and Aldo is pretty sure it wasn't our people. But it appears that at one point, someone was using the cabin to take refuge from that black smoke creature, because there was a ring of that grey powder on the ground completely surrounding it (except for one small gap that Vicki noticed). Anyway, I offered to bring Claire back to the Temple with us, at least to let us prove that her baby isn't there, but she insisted on staying at her cabin to wait for her father to come back. Then Vicki opted to stay at the cabin with Claire, since neither of them fully trust us. I started to argue, but Aldo insisted we let them stay there, since we need to get back to the Temple to report to Richard, and we're not supposed to bring unauthorized visitors to the Temple anyway. I realized Aldo was right, so we left Vicki and Claire at the cabin, and now Aldo and I are on our way back to the Temple. It'll certainly be interesting to hear what Richard has to say about all this.
Aldo and I just got back to the Temple, and I just now realized one other thing about Claire's story that doesn't make sense. I remember back when I was studying the files of all the Oceanic survivors, I discovered that Claire had the same biological father as Dr. Jack Shephard! And according to Dr. Shephard's file, his father had died in Sydney! So obviously that can't be the same "father" that Claire has been talking about. So who is this mysterious man that's been taking care of her?! That definitely worries me, especially now that I've left Vicki there. Anyway, I still need to update Richard, so I'd better go talk to him now.
Aldo and I just updated Richard on everything we encountered over the last two days. Dogen and his interpreter were also present. Richard is glad that we didn't bring Vicki and Claire here without consulting him first, but after hearing what I told him about Claire's "father", he thinks we should bring Claire here to question her further. Richard thinks he has an idea of what we're dealing with, and Dogen apparently has his own ways of testing that theory, and it's all stuff that's too complicated for either of them to explain. I've spent enough time on this island to realize that there are some things that are just better left to the experts, and I get the feeling that this is one of them. So tomorrow, Richard wants me to go with him and a few security people to try to talk Claire into coming here, but we might take her by force if necessary. And if Vicki is still with Claire, then we'll probably go ahead and bring her in, too. I just hope this doesn't get ugly.