+J.M.J.+

TITLE: "Self-Defense Argument": An "Animatrix: Second Renaissence Part I"/ "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" crossover

AUTHOR: "Matrix Refugee"

RATING: PG-13 (Rating will go up in later chapters)

ARCHIVE: Permission granted

FEEDBACK: Greatly desired, please!

SUMMARY: Declan Martin, a district attorney, finds his opinion of machine intelligence changing when he handles the case of the service droid B1-66-ER

DISCLAIMER: I do not own "The Animatrix: Second Renaissence, Part I", its characters, concepts, imagery or other indicia which belong to the Wachowski Brothers, RedPill Productions, Warner Brothers, et al. Nor do I own "A.I., Artificial Intelligence", its characters, settings, concepts or other indicia, which are the property of the late, great Stanley Kubrick, of DreamWorks SKG, Steven Spielberg, Warner Brothers, et al.

NOTES: This is an especially challenging fic to write, so it may take me a while to update it (I'm also planning to revise this and sell it as a straight robot story, maybe to Asimov's Science Fiction Digest; a friend of mine hearing about this called it "A cross between Isaac Asimov and John Grisham".). One reason has to do with the very nature of one of the pieces this is based on: if you've watched "Second Rennaisence", you know it's the most harrowing of the eight animated films that make up "The Animatrix": a historical "documentary" of the rise of the machines, the fall of man and the genesis of the Matrix and all the horrors that accompanied it. (It is also extremely violent and gory, which is why the DVD got the Australian equivalent of an NC-17 rating.) I chose to base this on one scene from the first half, the trial of the service droid B1-66-ER, which torched off the conflict between the two races.

I've been wanting to do a "Matrix"/"A.I." crossover for quite some time now (I wanted to find a way to put Keanu Reeves and Jude Law in the same fic...But the idea I once had got derailed by "The Matrix Reloaded"!), but I could never come up with a good way to get the two universes to blend. This, however, works quite well, since "A.I." deals in part with the animus directed against robots (called "Mecha" in that universe) by the humans (called "Orga"). For the moment, it's more "Matrix" than "A.I.", but most of the original characters (Declan, his wife Sabrina, their daughter Cecie [age 12 in this story]; Frank and Hal the reporters) all come from a series of "A.I." fics I wrote, and a few "A.I." characters and parapenalia show up.... Well, for you "A.I." fans, keep an eye on Johnson the prison guard....

Special Note on Semantics:

This story juggles the terminology of robotics: "Artilect" refers to any artificial or machine-based intelligence, whether a computer-based intelligence, or an intelligence housed in a machine-like body. "Robot" means any artificial/mechanical humanoid, in whole or in part, in general. "Android" (or "droid"), here refers specifically to a metal-skinned mechanical humanoid roughly resembling a human being in form. "Mecha", a term used in "A.I.", refers explicitly to a silicon-based skinned mechanical human substitute which, except at close range, can easily be mistaken for a flesh and blood human ("Orga").

* * * * * *

Chapter One: The Defendant

"Oi better warn ye, guv'nor, this parthicular Mech is a roight uppity wun," Johnson, the prison guard declared as he led Declan Martin, the assistant district attorney, down the twisting staircase leading to the robots' cellblock in the basement of the Holyoke House of Corrections.

"I've had dealings with difficult robots," replied Declan, a quiet-looking man in his late fifties, of average height and an average but slight build, not extraordinarily good-looking but not unsightly, with dense, naturally tousled iron-grey hair and a calm, almost tired-looking face with dark eyes that seemed to gaze perpetually at something in the distance. "They're no different than most humans, except that they're stronger."

"Aye, and *that* is what makes aaaahl the diff'runce," the large man in uniform rumbled, one meaty hand on the stock of the small EMP in a holster of his capacious belt.

They reached an antechamber at the foot of the stairs. Another guard awaiting them passed a metal detecting wand up and down Declan's sides, then searched his briefcase. Johnson led the way to a set of large double doors at the back of the chamber. On one doorpost was a palmlock, on the other a retina scanner. Johnson stepped before the retina scanner: a beam of red light passed over his eyes.

"Kevin Johnson, guard, Block R," a computerized female voice pronounced from somewhere within the scanner. "Back so soon?" it asked with a stylized casual tone. Johnson let out a harrassed rumble.

Declan approached the scanner, careful to keep his eyes open and steady as the beam panned over his eyes.

"Declan Martin, assistant district attorney," the computer affirmed. "Long time since you were here last."

Declan was never quite sure how to answer to SmartScanners: he knew the calm greetings were intended to put the scannee at ease.

Johnson pressed his palm to the reader on the other side of the doorway. Something buzzed deep inside the walls and stopped. Johnson inserted a metallic smart key into a lock on the door and keyed something else within the door.

The doors swung open slowly. Johnson entered first, Declan at his heels.

They entered a long corridor lined with cells, the walls covered with dull sheet metal, a single strip of flourescent tubing running down the middle of the ceiling cast the only light. The occupants of the cells, robots and droids and Mechas of all kinds, sat quietly behind the metal gratings that kept them in: lover-Mechas, companion models, even a few metal-skinned service droids of an earlier era before companies like Simulate City and Cybertronics introduced silicon dermis. Some turned their eyes toward him, others barely looked up. None of them moved: they had been immoblized from the neck down to prevent the stronger ones from breaking out.

Johnson led him to a cell at the foot of the corridor, narrower than the rest, with a lone occupant sitting on a metal bench.

Declan stepped close to the cell door, but Johnson held him back. "Don't get too close: no tellin' what these things can pull -- even when thar s'pposed t' be im-mobyiloized," the big man warned.

"That is close enough, sir: I can see you and hear you from that distance and make myself heard," said a metallic but calm voice from within the cell.

Inside sat a metal-skinned service droid, a serving man by the modl of the plates over its torso, simulating an elegant button-front vest over a shirt and tie, almost stylish compared to its metal limbs, all tubing and knobby metal joints, awkward to look at yet doubtlessly it could move more agilely than an Orga.

Its face presented the most disconcerting aspect of its non-human nature. It resembled an inverted metal pear dropped onto a short, thin stalk of a neck, its eyes mere red-tinted camera lenses set into its stamped-metal visage, the merest suggestion of a nose, its mouth a round speaker grating, the ears small microphones set into the sides of its head.

"B1-66-ER?" Declan asked, sitting down on the high stool Johnson pulled from the corner.

"That is my serial number," the droid replied. "And you, sir, would be?"

"I'm Declan Martin, from the district attorney's office. I've been assigned to try your case."

Without moving, the droid replied, "In which case, I trust that you are fully capable of discharging this duty to the state, in granting me a fair trial."

Declan felt his eyes widen slightly. He'd dealt with intelligent Mechas and droids before, but not many were so fully aware of their legal rights.

"Your face looks surprised," B1-66-ER replied.

"I am... Yours isn't the first case involving a robot that I've handled, but I have to admit, you're the first who's said anything to me like that, and so articulate."

"My first employer, Mr. Herbert Varriteck, the grandfather of my late employer, was a lawyer. When my services were not needed at the end of the day, he allowed me to read the books in his home office," the droid replied. "I am well acquainted with the laws of the state of Massachusetts regarding machine intelligences and artilects: Under the MIT Act of 2135, all machine intelligences manifesting the power of reason and independant thinking are regarded as non-human persons, and as such, when accused of a crime, are to be granted a fair trial by a jury."

"So you realize that you're charged with a violent crime, of killing your employers Conrad and Barbara Varriteck," Declan said.

"I am very much aware of these charges and accusations," B1-66-ER replied. "And I did kill them with my own hands."

"What we want to know is why you did this," Declan said.

With hardly a pause, as if it had this reply carefully planned, the droid spoke. "I killed them in an act of self-defense and self-preservation because they were going to kill me first."

It said this in a normal voice, utterly without passion or admission of guilt, just a plain statement of simple facts. But this coolness of tone that made Declan's blood run cold for a split second.

If only Orga humans could be as straightforward in stating their case, Declan thought.

"You realize what this means, since you have willingly confessed to committing this crime," Declan said.

"I realize the consequences the state imposes, but there are circumstances which extenuate and mitigate my actions. My case requires a trial. If a jury hears my account of the events that lead to this incident and the circumstances of what occured and what lead me to decide to act as I did, they will realize that I had little other recourse."

Silence fell over the cellblock. The man and the droid looked at one another.

"In that case," Declan said, breaking the silence. "I don't think there's much else to be said here, between you and me."

And in an almost preternaturally calm voice, utterly devoid of any invective, the droid replied, "Then I will see you in court."

* * * * * *

As Declan, with Johnson at his back, entered the warden's office on his way out, he spotted a tall Asian woman clad in a rigidly cut grey three-piece suit made of what looked like very thin patent leather, seated in the waiting area. As he signed out, she rose and approached him.

Jen Te: this wouldn't be the first time he'd dealt with her on a case, and he knew that as long as droids and Mechas were accused of crimes in that district and he was working for the DA's office, this wouldn't be the last time, either. She practically specialized in defending machine intelligences of various casts, but he couldn't deny, even deep in his own mind, that she was good at what she did.

"Trying to scare my client, Martin? You know artilects don't intimidate easily," she said.

"No. I was merely examining him," Declan said. "He wasn't interested in discussing the plea bargain."

She smiled at him almost mockingly. "And what did you offer him? Murder two: life sentence without parole? You know he could out live us both."

"Actually, we'd been considering murder one: twenty-five without parole."

She sniffed. "At worst it's involuntary manslaughter: five to ten with parole. Put yourself in his position, Martin: What would you have done?"

"Ms. Te, don't forget your client was captured on videodisk, via a security camera, brutally murdering two adult Orga humans in their own living room," Declan replied.

Unruffled, she replied, "My client acted in self defense, when his employers were going to permanently shut him down. What would you have done if someone was going to kill you and have your organs harvested without your consent?"

"I've taken every precaution to prevent anything like that from happening: I've already signed a donor card," Declan said, pressing his thumb to the reader on the sign-out terminal.

"Yes, because you're an Orga. No one tries to act like they own you," she countered.

"Ms Te, this isn't the time or the place for this discussion," Declan said, cutting her short. "Excuse me."

With that, he headed out into the outer chamber, heading for the vestibule.

He heard a husky cough behind him. He turned to find Johnson the guard still at his back, a sneering smile creeping into his pig-like eyes and twisting his thick lips.

"Ye had dealin's wit' thaht wun befahr?" the guard asked.

"Yes, she specializes in artilect law," Declan admitted.

Johnson glanced over his shoulder. "Figgers," he snorted. "Lemme ahsk ye a parsonal question, Maisther Marthin."

"Shoot," Declan said.

Johnson peered back again, almost as if he didn't want to be heard, and edged closer to Declan. In a low voice he asked, "Which soide are ye awn: blood or e-leckthrisity?"

"I'm on the side of social order and the maintaining thereof," Declan said. With that, he headed out into the early autumn daylight, but not before he saw a strange look pass over Johnson's face.

* * * * * *

"Are you all right, Deck?" Sabrina Martin asked her husband as he entered the kitchen by the door communicating from the garage of their home in Westhillston.

Declan set his briefcase on the floor by the phone table. "Yeah, yeah, just had a long day," he said.

She turned from the salad she was preparing and approached him. "You went to the prison today," she noted, looking him in the eye. He couldn't hide much from those gentle violet eyes.

He shucked his jacket, laying it on the chair, and undid the knot of his tie. "A place like that leaves an aura, doesn't it?" he mused. "I was interviewing the Varriteck droid."

As he mentioned that, a shudder passed visibly through Sabrina's solid frame and she turned her eyes away for a moment. "Is that case really going to trial? Can't they just settle it?"

"It's what he wants, and the State gives him every right to it," he said, undoing the cuffs of his shirt sleeves.

"But we're talking about a machine."

"He's an artilect: Massachusetts considers him a non-human person. He has every legal right a person would have...but he also has the same burden of responsibility."

"And that means he's responsible for those two people dying."

"Yeah," Declan admitted. Images flicked through his memory, as he had seen them on the tape the police had obtained from the security camera in the Varriteck couple's living room, a tape now being held by the DA's office as evidence...

Sabrina put her arms about his shoulders, holding him. The harsh images vanished before they could turn distinct.

"Don't think about that," she said. "Supper's almost ready."

He slid slowly from her hold. "Gotta wash my hands first," Declan said, heading for the washroom.

* * * * * *

Later that evening, Declan sat alone in his home office, poring over the dossier on the B1-66-ER case.

The droid's repair and upgrade reports, which were quite extensive since B1-66-ER was an older model, almost eighty years old. Nothing to indicate that it -- he -- had harbored any dangerous tendencies or malfunctions which had been known to mimic certain psychological conditions previously known only to Orgas, nothing that could have triggered any violent behavior. The repairs had become more frequent during the last twenty-five years, but for the moment, Declan attributed this to "age" or entropy. Nothing would last for ever, not even a droid.

Emory Skakael, the robopsychologist's report after interviewing the accused: the robot seemed perfectly competant to stand trial, was fully aware of its crime and the consequences thereof, and yet it insisted that it had acted only in defense of its life and functionality.

He heard a cough behind him. He turned to the open doorway behind him.

His daughter, Cecie, stood there, clad in the worn grey pullover jersey and frayed leggings she always wore to bed.

"Turning in for the night?" he asked her.

"I was gonna ask you the same question," she said, her eye on the files on his desk. Her voice was husky like his own, but gentle like her mothers, albeit with an adolescent gruffness all her own. "Working late?"

"I've got a humdinger of a case on my hands, so I'm trying to do my homework, come up with a good counter-defense," he said. "Cases involving droids always get this complicated."

She perched herself on the edge of the desk, her eyes on the open books and folders scattered over the top. "What's he like?" Cecie asked.

"What's who like?" Declan asked.

"The droid, B1-66-ER."

Declan shrugged one shoulder, not quite knowing what she wanted to know. "He's a standard issue serving man, made about eighty years ago, one of the old metal body type they had back when I was a kid. Technically, he's considered a droid: he doesn't have the silicon skin they put on the newer models, the Mechas, these days. He's got a stamped metal housing."

"I see," she said, her dark eyes thoughtful. "But what is *he* like?"

Declan paused in thought: she'd been asking a subjective question, as opposed to an objective one. "He's not like any Mech I've ever seen, certainly not like the newer models. Odd how these newer ones -- Mechas they call them, since they're more like mecha-anical humans, unlike us flesh and blood humans, or Orgas -- they may look more human in appearance, but they're less human in personality."

"The price they pay for looks," Cecie replied, almost scornfully.

He smiled and clasped his daughter's wrist. "You're almost wise beyond your years, jade," he said, calling her by his pet name for her. "Stay that way.

"Now what made you so curious about this case in particular?" he asked.

She shrugged. "I'm not sure... It's not just because you're covering it. Part of it is ... it's all over the 'Net. Can't go on there without some reminder of it."

"Some reminder how?"

She wagged her head. "Oh, the ARM keeps running banner ads all over the place, saying how the Massachusetts laws regarding Mechas and things like that are too liberal, how the machines are too dumb to understand the nature of a trial, much less argue self defense. I saw one message board that said the trial was a senseless waste of taxpayer money when someone should just go in there with an EMP and hose the droid."

He expected that of the Anti-Robot Militia. He could still remember back when they first started spewing forth their diatribes against the use of droids or Mechas for any work normally done by Orga humans. "They're wrong in that respect. He's no stupid machine: he knows the state laws as well as I know them -- arguably better, since he has photographic recall."

"So he's admitting he's guilty, but he's claiming self-defense and he wants a trial? This is one for the CRF to pick up on that -- if they haven't already."

Strange that she hadn't seen any ads from the Coalition for Robotic Freedom, which was so active in Massachusetts, particularly in New Cambridge, home of the second MIT, restored after the floodwaters from the melting ice caps had sunk Boston. They'd been partly responsible for the passing of the MIT Bill of Artilect Rights, which had become state law twenty years ago, and now insured the legal rights of all artificial intelligences.

"I'm expecting the CRF to step in any day now: his lawyer is with them," he said.

She slid off the edge of his hotdesk. "I hope they do step in," she said. "They're trying to collect donations for his trial expensese."

"Don't tell me: You donated."

"No, you don't give me enough allowance for me to spare the money for it."

"Good: that keeps you on my side."

"Daa-aaad!" that down and up groan that had been uttered down through the ages by twelve year old girls annoyed with their fathers.

He raised his hands in surrender. "I was only joshing you, jade."

The irritated pout left her brow. She leaned down and hugged him around the neck. "Don't stay up too late."

"Speak for yourself, young lady," he said, trying to sound gruff, but he didn't sound convincing even in his own ears.

Once she had gone, he turned back to checking his messages for the last time that day. Mostly the usual light clutter of junk, which he promptly discarded.

But there was one with an odd address that caught his eye:

From: fleshwarrior @ hotmail.com

To: declan_martin @ juno.com

Subject: B1-66-ER

Herad aobut you trying tthe Varrriteck droid case. some thing like that that would kill two innovcnet people does not deserve a fair trial or any trila at all.

DOWN SILICON, UP FLESH!!!

FleshWarrior

He hit the delete button, then closed his email program before turning off first the monitor, then the room lights.

Declan limped down to the bedroom, his bad knee bothering him, the way it always did after a long day, or before a rainstorm. A light shone in the open doorway to the room he shared with his wife, the diffused radience comforting him. Sabrina was still up.

He found her sitting up in bed, reading, but she quickly set aside her book and got up, meeting him just inside the door.

She took his face in her hands. "Are you all right?"

He gave her a narrow smile. "Just tired, just need my rest, what with the trial date coming up."

She looked deep into his eyes. "You're not telling me the whole truth."

"God help me, " he groaned, as she released him. "It's just the nature of the whole case, that's all."

"I imagine," she said, leading him into the room by the shoulder and closing the door behind them. "After all, you're dealing with a psychotic machine. Must take something out of you, knowing he could do the same to you or to anyone else."

He shook his head as he unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off. "No, that's just the problem: this droid is almost saner than I am."

She looked at him with eyes narrowed. "You must be tired....Come to bed, Deck."

To be continued...

Literary Easter Egg:

(Would not be a fic by the Matrix Refugee if she didn't build a few of these into the story!)

Emory Skakael -- Phonetically similar to Emil Skoda, the name of the psychologist working with the DA's office on "Law and Order" (which I watch zealously; if they ever do a movie version of the final, non-fanfiction version of this story, I'd love to see Sam Watterston, the DA in that series, play the part of Declan), but the last name is also that of the infamous Michael Skakael, the Kennedy family cousin who murdered Martha Moxley but didn't get tried for it until twenty years ex post facto, and then the judge ordered him to be tried as a juvenile! (First time I ever saw a forty year old juvenile...)