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Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
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Enlarge: Tallie checks up on Rosie's progress, which includes chrome

When Tallie visited Rosie's garage she found the woman half-covered in grease and half buried in her model of Henry Hall's engine. Tiny sensors were now attached to the engine's components: the leads from those sensors trailed across the floor to the Chemical Communication Analyzer on the workbench.

"Hi, Rosie," Tallie greeted her. "I see you got yours, too." The Book's CCA had arrived that morning and was now awaiting its modifications.

Rosie extracted herself from the engine and wiped her forearms with a rag. The motion seemed more theoretical than practical. "Yep," she told Tallie. "I think I've got the hang of it now." She waved at the end of the workbench. "Does that look familiar?"

That, Tallie saw, was a small reproduction of the Clockwork Book's Language Acquisition Engine. If there was a dollhouse, she thought, with a Clockwork Book in it, that's just what you'd find in there. "It really works the same?" she asked. Rosie nodded.

The little Difference Engine was an intricate, meticulous copy of the Book's own Engine on a much smaller scale, though with more chrome than Tallie thought was really necessary. It was apparently working on a problem now: tiny numbered wheels were spinning and flipping one another in a computation. Rosie joined Tallie at the bench. "Everything seems jake," she said, pleased. "I'm going to start on... your friend's... gadget next." Tallie nodded solemnly. "You can expect delivery in..." Rosie thought it over. "Three days, I think. Maybe a little sooner." Tallie told her that would be acceptable.

"Hey, honey, wait a minute," Rosie called after her. Tallie braced herself: that 'honey' reminded her of Gwen, who had been so disappointing. "I thought you could use this," Rosie explained. Tallie opened the small case and she actually squealed at the sight of the rasps, files, augurs, injectors, calipers, and sharpeners inside. "That old gearworks must keep you pretty busy, and I didn't see much of a toolkit down there. So... these are for you."

Tallie thanked her three times before she made it out the door. Rosie's smile was already buried in her wor

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