10:23 p.m.

I got to have a Thanksgiving dinner at the Picketts' house tonight. It was a fairly small gathering -- Danny and Colleen, Juliet, Diane, Zack and Emma, and myself. And then, to our surprise, Ben showed up while we were halfway done eating! He told us that Dawson was able to free him from the survivors' prison cell last night, and he spent all day walking back here and just got back tonight. He quickly washed up and changed his clothes and then went straight to Danny and Colleen's house, since he'd already been invited there for Thanksgiving. His face looked really badly beaten, just like Tom described. Naturally, since we were all interested, he told us about his experience as a prisoner of the survivors. It turns out it wasn't the survivors who captured him; he accidentally got caught in a trap that was set by a crazy woman who's lived alone on the Island for 16 years! I guess other people had heard stories about this woman, but this was my first time hearing about her. But apparently she's met some of the Oceanic survivors and formed an alliance with them, so she turned Ben over to them, and they took him to that Dharma station and locked him in a closet. It was Sayid Jarrah, the former Iraqi soldier, who beat him up, somehow having been convinced that Ben was one of their enemies. Ben also learned that the survivors have been referring to our people as "the others". I guess that pretty well sums up how they view us.

Ben said he wasn't very impressed with John Locke when he finally got to meet him, and he didn't think Locke possessed the qualities that one might expect in a future leader of our people. Ben saw that Locke became easily frustrated and filled with doubt about his purpose and was too easily bossed around by the doctor. But Ben's not giving up hope on Locke just yet; it just may be a while before he's ready to join us.

I asked Ben if he met Vicki while he was over there, but he said the only people he met were Locke, Jarrah, the doctor, Ana Lucia, and the tall Nigerian guy (who's apparently started speaking again since I last saw him). They apparently didn't want to inform the rest of their people that they were holding someone prisoner.

As for Dawson, he was still back at their camp when Ben left last night, and as far as Ben knows, the rest of the survivors are unaware that Dawson helped Ben escape, but he'll probably be heading this way any time, so our guys need to be ready to track him and anybody else that follows him. But for now, I'm glad that Ben has made it back here safely and got to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. Hopefully life will return to normal after Dawson and his kid leave the Island.

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