Nike soared into the sky. Her large wings caught updrafts and lifted her higher. She felt the winds grow cooler and more refreshing as she ascended towards the condensing presence above her. The nothingness solidified into darkness. The darkness became solid and welcoming. She flew upwards and flapped her wings a little harder, hungry for home.
Beneath her, the clouds were small, insignificant. Prismatic shifts of reflected sunlight filtered between the nothingness below. She saw right through those clouds and their superficial beauty. Below the meaningless wisps of condensation lay a sea of deep blue and aquamarine dotted by sandy brown and green islands. There was a flash and one of the islands erupted into a mushroom of smoke and fire.
She turned her attention upward. She decided enough was enough. No longer did she want to be among the miserably congested anthills, unthinking bee hives, or diseased roach nests of humanity. War had evolved with these insects and their own self-defeating stupidity.
The skin of her face stretched taught as she ascended towards Olympus. Her robes flowed down in her wake until they were pulled free from her body. She smiled as her skin fell away leaving only her incorporeal essence: her true self, a star entering the massiveness of the night sky where she might find her place in the unending space of the universal. The skin and cloth she shed floated downwards, became a cloud, and then rained down on a blood-soaked battlefield to wash a moment of pain away. Then the corporeal shell rotted with a sea of smoking gore and viscera. Naked now, she glowed a little brighter as she ascended into the Pantheon.
She looked down. She watched as the skies of Earth burst with unending fire. The world burned and she shook her head. Drops of her essence fell down beneath her like tears. She turned her attention upwards and worked her way through the cluttered debris of dead satellites.
There were no victories left to herald, no new songs to be sung of the glories of war, at least, none she could recognize.
"I quit damn you!" Nike yelled down towards the embers of fading civilizations.
"It's okay, dear."
Nike turned around to face the song of another star. Athena moved towards her, their lights connected in a loving embrace, and Nike trembled, overtaken by the sensed impact of an infinity of gentle kisses.
Athena drew Nike closer and the two stars merged into one. "Shh. It's okay. You did your best. You hung on as long as you could. I gave up on them centuries ago. I saw the signs. It wasn't the first time, after all."
The stars shined with their timeless and unchanging beauty.
Back on the wreckage of earth, a man and a woman stood upright. They emerged from the soot and gore and waste of another lost time, of another lost city, of another lost world. They looked up to the stars hoping to find warmth there, but only felt a chill. The man and woman frowned, turned their backs on the stars, and focused on one other.
They began to love. They began to rebuild.
The world continued to spin. Hope continued to burn along with their passions.
Athena and Nike danced overhead. They circled in joy to the tune of new songs that sounded like the old songs but were still their own songs, somehow.