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Oracle stores numbers in a varying width format. You can find some details on this format in the documentation here:
Do a search for "Internal Numeric Format" to find the section.
You may also find Steve Adams' write up "Internal representation of the NUMBER datatype" to be interesting:
You can see how your specific example (2589) is converted into Oracle's internal format as follows:
SQL> select dump(2589) from dual; DUMP(2589) ---------------------- Typ=2 Len=3: 194,26,90 1 row selected.