Why did all the people on board have to die for Kirk to be right? As long as even one were killed, M5 still murdered them, and thus (according to its own logic) would have to die as well.
I completely agree with this.
But my position, which I realize that some disagree with, is that these lines imply that all hands on the Excalibur were
killed by M5:
The Ultimate Computer wrote:
KIRK: [...] Scan the starship Excalibur, which you destroyed. Is there life aboard?
M5: No life.
KIRK: Because you murdered it. [...]
I believe that if the M5 hadn't killed all hands, then it would have been obliged to contradict Kirk's assertion, which was that the reason there was no life aboard Excalibur was because it was murdered by M5.
If survivors had beamed to another starship, or escaped in a lifeboat or shuttlecraft, then M5 would have had to have said something like:
M5: Incorrect. This unit did not murder all life aboard starship Excalibur. Some life is absent for other reasons. One hundred seventeen personnel were beamed aboard starship Hood. Forty seven other personnel evacuated on shuttlecraft which are now boarding flagship Lexington.
Naturally, at that point, Kirk would continue with his point that some were
murdered, and the M5 would have probably shut itself down anyway. But the M5 offered no such contradiction.