Dr. Irene Kliptchdov had read once that in the old days, long before Rigour, priests would sometimes sit with their parishioners, listen to them confess their wrongdoings, and then issue a sort of preparatory sentence: go say this many prayers, donate this much time to charity, spend some time in deep thought about your human frailty. There weren't many priests anymore so Irene had taken the matter of repentance in her own hands.
First she’d moved to the far frontier, the planet where her awful creation made its current home. She’d have to be close enough to strike when it was time. Next she’d forged activation orders for a couple of labour drones and moved them to a distant plateau where they would dig out the basic shape of a research lab and engineering hanger. Then she did the closest thing she could to praying. She’d modified the old- her old Liberty and Discovery navigation systems from one of the drones. She took what she’d learned from her failings - from Rigour - and put it to work here. The two would be inseparable, she planned, each a check to the other. Liberty's desire for free blue skies and new horizons would keep Discovery from becoming myopic and Discovery’s agenda to learn and uncover would ground Liberty, keep it from fleeing when things turned. Eventually, she planned, Liberty and Discovery would lead someone back to her, and whoever came would been a weapon. So she began her final act of penance.
There was a dark humor for her when she realized it. The names: Liberty, Discovery, Rigour. They were marketing terms. There was nothing truly free about Liberty, for instance, it was just another machine, but with certain biases and protocols. But when she looked at her new weapon, at this new being she’d built, she could feel it resonating with her own Righteousness and she could not be sure, not even once it was all over, if that was a trick of the machine or something real.