For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker.

Doon Harrow: My dad made this.
Lina Mayfleet: It doesn't look very safe.
Doon Harrow: That's my dad.
Loris Harrow: [narrating] Lina and Doon tied their hope to a rock and tossed it down toward the city. The rock could've ended up on a roof. Or kicked into a gutter. But fate ran another course. And the message found its way. Now the path was clear for all. All of us who kept the flame of Ember burning, through the darkness, so that we could live again on the earth, in the air and the light.
Loris Harrow: [narrating] On the day the world ended, the fate of mankind was carried in a small metal box. In a secret location, architects, scientists and engineers met and concluded that there was only one hope for our future: to build an underground city designed to keep its citizens protected for generations to come. The box was entrusted to the first mayor, who was to pass it on to her successor. As the years counted down, the box passed from mayor to mayor. None knew what secrets it held, only that it would open when it was needed most. But fate ran another course, and the chain was broken. The box was tucked away and forgotten, and as the city grew old and began to crumble, the box quietly clicked open.
[Doon and Lina have discovered a hidden bicycle-like jalopy with which their parents had tried to escape Ember, many years ago]
Lina Mayfleet: What is this?
Doon Harrow: [recognizing the built-from-weird-parts look of the thing] My dad made this.
Lina Mayfleet: It doesn't look very safe.
Doon Harrow: That's my dad. Everything he makes looks like this.
Loris Harrow: The main thing is, pay attention. Pay close attention to everything, everything you see. Notice what no one else notices, and you'll know what no one else knows. What you get is what you get. What you do with what you get, that's more the point.
Doon Harrow: Sul, what are you doing up here?
Sul: This thing is jammed stuck. I've gotta free it.
Doon Harrow: How do you know that's what you should do?
Sul: [pause] It's my job!
Lina Mayfleet: Lizzie! Where'd you get that food?
Lizzie Bisco: All right. I got it from my boyfriend.
Lina Mayfleet: You don't have a boyfriend.
Lizzie Bisco: It's not official, but there's this guy who really likes me. He explores the storerooms, especially the ones on the edges. They're marked empty in the ledger, but they're not all empty. I'll give you a bite if you promise not to tell.
[repeated line]
Sul: It's not my job!
Doon Harrow: The Builders left instructions.
Loris Harrow: The Builders abandoned us.
Doon Harrow: No, they didn't. They didn't, Dad. I have proof.
Loris Harrow: Show me.
Doon Harrow: The Generator's our only source of power. If it goes, we all go.
Loris Harrow: That's dramatic.
Doon Harrow: Dad, this place is falling apart. I will not sit around while Ember collapses. I am getting in to that generator, whatever it takes.
Lina Mayfleet: [She's holding the mysterious box, looking at the numbers in its l.e.d. count-down panel, while talking to Clary, and she starts crying] How am I ever gonna figure out what this is all about? It's all these zeros. That's what scares me the most. What would count down to nothing?
[Lina has just seen a man, who ventured into the wilderness, captured by the authorities]
Lina Mayfleet: Why would he risk being thrown in jail, when everyone knows it's against the law to go out there?
Doon Harrow: [Doon is showing his father the oversized insect claw from the Unknown Regions and comparing it with a picture in a book] How do you explain that this used to be so small?
Loris Harrow: [Loris lives in denial] You're gonna give yourself a headache.
Doon Harrow: I got lost, I'm sorry!
Looper: Get lost again!
[throws him to the ground]
Captain Fleery: Stop! I need to tell you the rules. One: When a customer...
Lina Mayfleet: Gives you a message, repeat it back to make sure you've got it right. Two: Always wear the red cape so people can identify you. Three: Our customers pay 20 coins for every message no matter how far we have to carry it, so go fast. I love going fast.
Captain Fleery: Very good. I'm impressed. Now go!
Loris Harrow: What can you do about it? Hmm? What can *you* do about it?
Lina Mayfleet: [fearfully] What... was that?
Loris Harrow: [to Doon] Builders were wise when they said, "If you have proof, you have to pursue it!" There's more to a bottle cap than keeping liquid from leaking out of glass!
[Mayor Cole addresses perhaps a couple of dozen citizens and gives what is meant to be a rousing speech, like a true politician: promising much but with little action to accomplish anything]
Mayor Cole: These are trying and troubled times. Our problems are grave. We need answers, but beyond answers, more important than answers, we need solutions. And in order to find those solutions, I propose we launch a thorough investigation.
[Many members of the small crowd nod and say "Yes."]
Mayor Cole: I hereby declare the creation of a Task Force to Investigate the Blackouts.
[the crowd claps. Lina looks cynical]
Mayor Cole: Do I have volunteers?
[Several hands rise into the air. Cole looks gratified]
Mayor Cole: [grandiosely] Today, we, the people, stand united against the darkness!
[after Granny passes away, Lina and Poppy have to move into Mrs. Murdo's place. Mrs. Murdo shows them a clean room with a single bed]
Mrs. Murdo: You and Poppy have to share, but I think the bed's big enough. Poppy, let's make some dinner and get your sister get settled.
[Lina, with a box of her belongings in her arms, stares unhappily at her new room]
Mrs. Murdo: [Cut to the dinner scene, when there are rumblings from below and bits of ceiling falling from above]
Mrs. Murdo: [Mrs. Murdo, oblivious to the destruction all around them, says to Lina:] Do you know your part?
Lina Mayfleet: Um, I, I think I remember it pretty well from last year.
Mrs. Murdo: [enraptured] Oh, the Great Day of Singing is *so* important! Ah, it lifts all of our hearts! How lucky we are.
[Mrs. Murdo is equally oblivious to the fact that Lina and Poppy are grieving for Granny]
Lina Mayfleet: I don't feel very lucky, lately.
[Mrs. Murdo lifts a finger grandly, as though to dispense great wisdom]
Mrs. Murdo: There's nothing to worry about.
Lina Mayfleet: The blackouts worry everybody.
Mrs. Murdo: Help is coming.
Lina Mayfleet: [frowns:] Help?
Mrs. Murdo: Mm-hm! Who built our City, dear?
Lina Mayfleet: The... Builders?
Mrs. Murdo: That's right. And the Builders will come again and show us the way.
[Even Poppy looks incredulous. Lina realizes she has been talking to a crazy person, so she only nods]
Lina Mayfleet: Whatever it is, granny, I'll figure it out.
Doon Harrow: Did you see those store-rooms? They're completely empty. We're gonna run out of food.
[He looks away from Lina]
Doon Harrow: It doesn't matter anyway. The Generator won't last. And pretty soon it'll be black for good.

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