Knight Templar wrote:
Kirk could also have known there was "no life" aboard the Excalibur because he knew full well all the surviving crew would've already abandoned ship by the time he asks M-5 the question.
But then in that case Kirk wouldn't have asserted that the reason
for there being no life was because the M5 had murdered it. You don't likely get a second chance to out-think a super smart machine.
We know from "The Menagerie" that going to Talos IV is the "only death penalty still on the books".
So if M-5 were being the least bit reasonable when Kirk asked what the penalty for murder was, M-5 should've replied
"Lifetime incarceration in a Federation rehabilitation facility" or something that effect.
The M5's bank of what laws it considered applicable included "the laws of man and God," which it believed murder to be contrary to. Evidently, Daystrom provided the M5 with a concept of right and wrong that was broader than just with respect to Federation law, and one consistent with the one he himself believed in. The penalty that the M5 selected was one that it believed was appropriate in that broader context.