"No," said the Book in a small, small voice. "no. no. no. nononononononononononoNONONONONONONONONONONONONO!"
It began to twitch, and then to jerk: its clockwork clenched and unclenched in ways that clockworks are not meant to do. A scraping, jarring sound echoed up from the most distant parts of the Book's mechanism and started to spread though the room. Everywhere its cogs ground into one another and its pulleys shrieked with sudden, conflicting tensions. But Tallie was paying no attention.
Through her headset she could hear the CCA collecting the vapors just as quickly as they escaped: the machine had no idea how to interpret them but it was, as designed, sending the signals to the Language Acquisition Engine. The Engine's columns of wheels began to spin and ratchet and turn one another in the fastest and most complex computation of its long career: and something was starting to come back.
The Book's arms flew up and down in great mechanical spasms. It was slamming them on its dais, the nearby stairs, and on its own pages. Its arms flailed out and sent potted mushrooms flying: crockery shattered against the walls. With great roundhouse swings it started to strike out at its own gears. The Book was screaming now, over and over: "NONONONONONONONONONONO!"
And Tallie still didn't hear it. The Orb's dissipating mist rose up around her in a gentle, spinning cloud and her faraway eyes were seeing things that had been gone for thousands and thousands and thousands of year