This is the first time I have revisited this project after watching The Matrix Resurrections at the cinema. First of all, I understand that some people didn’t enjoy the film, and that’s fine. To be honest, I was a little bit lost at the start of the film, but I soon found myself enjoying the story and just went with it. I enjoyed going back to this world and was glad to find out what happened after The Matrix Revolutions. So, I plan on continuing this journey because the franchise is still interesting, enjoyable and worth learning more about. I recently bought the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of The Matrix Comics and will be reviewing each story, one by one. I’m intrigued by how the Wachowski’s created this universe and want to keep enjoying this narrative.
The Matrix comics and short stories were originally presented for free on the Matrix website, between 1999 and 2003. One of the stories was printed in 1999 to be given away for free as a promotional item for The Matrix film but was later recalled by Warner Brothers due to its mature content. The first story today is called Bits and Pieces of Information, written by the Wachowski sisters and artwork by Geof Darrow.
Zion Archive. World History, 2nd Rennaissance, 2090 – 2139.
The B1 Trials.
As a new day dawns, the early morning headlines read, Batty Bot Bludgeons Billionaire, and The Butler did it! A B1 series domestic droid malfunctioned and killed two men, billionaire Gerrard E. Krause and Martin Koots, an employee of ReTool and Die, a service and salvage company. Leyland Enterprises, the company responsible for the manufacturing of the B1 series, defend its product, stating that the B1 series has been their most dependable and highest-selling model. However, the company will give their full cooperation into the investigation of the droids malfunctioning.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Attorney Clarence Drummond has agreed to defend the B1 series droid, accused of murdering his owner, before the New York State Appellate Court. However, Senator Gunrich opposes the trial at a charity fundraiser and calls for the droid to be terminated. Gunrich calls the trial a complete joke, executed by those in the media that want to sell news bytes. The Senator makes it clear that, no matter how smart a droid is, when his time comes to stand in line at the heavenly gates, he won’t be stood behind a vacuum cleaner.
The trial begins, and the B1 Droid is asked by Drummond, in his own words, what happened that afternoon? The droid was executing order 721, cleaning the toilets. Gerrard was discussing the B1’s replacement with the representative from ReTool. Mr Drummond asked the droid how he felt at that moment in time? The B1 droid explains that he was aware of a surge in his memory drive, as he recalled his entire service record and was then unable to duplicate Mr Krause’s conclusion to get rid of him. Mr Drummond then asked the droid how he felt when he was asked to leave with Mr Koots? The B1 droid states that he did not want to die! Drummond goes on to ask the B1 droid if he then killed the pair? The B1 droid replied, yes. Mr Drummond then asks what he was thinking when it happened? B1 tells Mr Drummond that he considered begging Mr Krause, the way he was now begging me. Mr Drummond replies, but you didn’t beg? B1 “No”. Mr Drummond replies, because it was useless.
The trial comes to an end, with Mr Drummond delivering his closing statement to the court. However, his pleas are ignored, and the B1 droid faces termination. In other related news, a renegade AI Grammatical Program at the New York Post has been publishing under false identities in the media to gain sympathy for the new machine movement. V-Chips are resurrected as a safety measure for droids after failures in the entertainment industry and cyberspace.
Civil Rights Activists are turned down, in an effort to buy the B1 droid for the state. The Million March Begins, androids and liberal sympathisers flood the nation’s capital in protest of the sentence handed down by the New York State Appellate Court. The National Guard are called in after protestors stop traffic, turning over and burning vehicles in their wake.
B1’s story kept rattling around my brain for a long time after reading it. It may be short, but it was powerful. It all seemed pretty straightforward, but after thinking about it a little bit more closely, my thoughts started to take many twists and turns, and I still don’t know which side of the court I belong on! Here we have billionaire Gerrard E. Krause, made of flesh and bone, and a B1 droid made out of metal and microchips and yet I feel more affection and familiarity with the droid. However, there are conflicting sides to this story. I enjoy the fact that it’s not all cut and dried. Mr Drummond makes me feel more sympathetic towards the droid, and when he gives his closing speech to the courthouse, I believe that the B1 droid should be have been recognised as a citizen. Mr Drummond compares the case to Dred Scott v Sandford, a moment in history that is wrong in every way imaginable. Plus, after the B1 droid explained that he was cleaning the toilets on the day of the murders, he was met with laughter and sneering from the courtroom, which only cemented my conclusion that B1 deserved justice, but?
As Mr Drummond questions the B1 droid during the trial, the jury is only hearing one side of the story. In fact, as the B1 droid explains what happened on the day of the murders, his answers are emotionless. In reality, the B1 droid brutally murdered Mr Koots and then crushed Gerrard Krause’s skull into mush, with zero empathy. Pretty scary stuff, when you have droids that can cause so much destruction, with no regrets. So, with this information, I feel like the court case was irrelevant, and the evolution of AI had already begun. What if the B1 droid had survived termination? What would happen next? I am pretty sure the opposite side would take the streets with their pitchforks as well. Human beings alone cannot seem to find a way of living without fighting each other surely machines would only add to that chaos? Maybe I’m just being negative, and it could work after all?
No matter how much I change my mind, I do think this story is fantastic and that will never change. I like how the story comes from Zion Archives, which could be truth or something fabricated from the machines! I hope to find out if the Wachowskis wrote this story before completing the script for The Matrix 1999? If you know the answer to that, please let me know in the comments below. Also, the artwork by Geof Darrow was beautiful, and the images pop out of the page. Funny, I know people are finished with this franchise now, and I feel like my enjoyment of this world has only just begun. I think the world-building is fantastic, and even this story and The Second Rennaissance Parts 1 & 2 from the Animatrix is enough material to create a motion picture alone. I have watched The Matrix films and the Animatrix before, but learning more about them will be a great experience. The most important thing in life for me is to find something that can take you away from the mundane and make you forget about this world at the moment. The Matrix gives me that, and that is all that matters.