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seen May 11 '13 at 1:17

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comment Why do the machines keep humans alive if they have nuclear reactors?
We don't know the actual distance. But considering that "Machines" had an entire Earth surface at their disposal, Zion is suspiciously close to the Matrix. They use ships primarily because the city itself is deep underground. As for the attack, they chose rather inefficient method if their real goal was wiping humans. A lethal gas, or air-borne virus would have been much quicker, and reliable, and cheaper. You can't really trust everything Architect says, besides he himself might not possess the full information.
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answered Why do the machines keep humans alive if they have nuclear reactors?