Saying Goodbye (Star Trek: TOS story by Carolyn Spencer)

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Saying Goodbye
Author(s): Carolyn Spencer
Date(s): print zine-07/2007;The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive-08/2010
Length: The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive-8928 words
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: The Kirk/Spock Archive

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Saying Goodbye is a Kirk/Spock story by Carolyn Spencer.

It was published in the print zine Legacy #5 (07/2007).


From the summary in Legacy:"After Spockʼs death during their battle with Kahn [sic], Kirk uses the Guardian to attempt to change the past, only to find that some things are meant to be."

Reactions and Reviews

This writer has always been one of my all time favorites so when I saw her name in the table of contents, I immediately turned to her story and settled in for a satisfying read. And may I say, I wasn't disappointed. I just love angst in my K/S, especially when it's Kirk angsting about his love for Spock. And it's here in spades. Such hopelessness, such despair, such love. I have always envied Ms. Spencer's ability to put ordinary words together to make a sentence that will rip your heart out. And she's done it again in Saying Good-Bye. It's so damn sad.

This story takes place right after the events in The Wrath of KhanST 2]]. I love this Kirk, heartbroken over the death of Spock, whom he has loved for years in silence. Half crazy with grief, he determines to get Spock back no matter the cost. Now I know a few of you don‘t think that Kirk would ever do anything like this, not even for Spock, but I've always been a sucker for the giving up everything for love scenario. Maybe not in real life, but this is my fantasy life and in my fantasies Kirk and Spock are together forever... whatever it takes. So Kirk tries again and again to change what is. But fate has other ideas. Our intrepid captain finally learns the hard way that some things are meant to be. And fate is not always unkind. ST 3 gave Spock back to us and more importantly back to Kirk. What an ending! Be still my heart.

I highly recommend this story to anyone with an ounce of romance in their soul. You'll love this story too. I only have one quibble with this author. She doesn't write enough. [1]
The final story in the Legacy series of zines is most fitting, but very, very sad. For me, there will probably never be too many K/S stories revolving around STII, and especially Spock‘s ultimate sacrifice. This one takes a turn that is completely different and just as unnerving. Showing us a dispirited yet determined Kirk, willing to sacrifice everything to have Spock back at his side, it promises resolution, reunion and satisfaction.

But promises are not always kept. Or to put it another way, be careful what you wish for. This must have been a very difficult story to write, because it is painful to read. Over and over Kirk searches for a solution, the more he fails, the more blind and desperate his search becomes. The saving grace is that throughout the story, his love for Spock shines brightly. It is, as always, the driving force in his life.

I believe there is a very real message here for all of us. In the face of tragedy or misfortune, we so often pray for what might have been because any outcome other than the present one seems better to us. But we cannot see what the future holds, or where the un-traveled road may take us. Best leave ourselves in the hands of fate or whatever higher power we believe guides us through this labyrinth of life. Kirk learns this bitter lesson; and in the end love does triumph through the events we are all familiar with from STIII. If there must be a final chapter for Kirk and Spock, Ms. Spencer's closing words express eloquently via Kirk's thoughts what we all hope is written there: ―"No matter what joy or sorrow the future holds, what gain or loss, what pleasure or pain the universe throws at us, there is this above all: we'll never have to say good-bye again.”[2]
In 1993, an American comedy film called Groundhog Day‘ was released. It starred Bill Murray as an egocentric TV weatherman who finds himself with an assignment he is less than enthusiastic about - covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA. While he is there, he finds himself repeating the same day over and over again, and this drive him so crazy he eventually makes several attempts at suicide, all of which fail.

This story basically follows that same plot, but whereas the movie is intended to make you laugh, this story is designed to do the exact opposite. It takes place at the end of Star Trek II and unlike Kirk‘s statement at the end where he says, ―I feel fine, in this story he feels anything but. Spock's death is something he absolutely refuses to accept, cannot accept, and determined to bring his Vulcan back to life, he seeks out the one option that could make it possible - the Guardian of Forever. It doesn't matter that the Guardian is off limits and that he will have to use every trick in the book to achieve his goal. It doesn't matter that by doing so, he can kiss his career goodbye. All that matters is that if he is successful, his beloved Vulcan will be back at his side. But even as he is seemingly successful at first, his joy is short-lived as tragedy strikes unexpectedly again, then again and again at each desperate attempt to change what must be. Yet he refuses to believe that it is his destiny to live out his life without Spock at his side any more than he can believe it is Spock's destiny to die and leave him so benefit and alone. But even his determination and will are not enough to alter those destinies, and he is seemingly faced with the fact that Spock will die at the hands of Khan and there is nothing Kirk can do, no trick he can use, no deity he can plead with, that will change that fact.

This has got to be the most gut-wrenching story I have ever read. The author does a brilliant job of letting the reader see and feel the total devastation Kirk himself is feeling at the loss of the one being in the universe he cannot live without, the tremendous hope he has that perhaps he has found a way to avoid that loss, and the despair and agony that fills his very soul when he is finally forced to face the reality that he is powerless to prevent what must be. It is a story of tremendous love and tremendous loss, of grief and sorrow and despair, of hope and longing and desire, and of facing a truth that is impossible to face. It is, in short, simply unforgettable and stands out as one of this author's very best. [3]
I was thrilled to see a story by Carolyn Spencer in Legacy. This author doesn't write nearly often enough to suit me, but her stories are always unforgettable. And what a powerful and heartbreaking story this is. Kirk cannot accept that Spock died in the reactor chamber on the Enterprise. As Kirk puts it "...Spock's loss is inconsolable. I could perhaps bear it, but for one irretrievable, unforgivable, cowardly, soul-damning fact: I never told Spock I loved him."

Kirk goes to the Guardian of Forever, jumps through the time portal, and attempts to prevent Spock's death. This is not a straight forward matter, of course. Kirk fails in his first attempt, and then Saavik must die so Spock can live. The scene of Saavik and Spock together as Saavik dies, and Spock's grief afterwards as he talks with Kirk about Saavik touched me deeply. However, it seems it is not easy to change Spock's fate – shortly afterwards Spock dies anyway, and in a senseless accident. Kirk is half crazed with grief, and insists on seeing other futures if Spock had not been killed saving the Enterprise. A series of disturbing scenes follow where Spock dies a variety of meaningless deaths.

Finally Kirk comes to accept Spock‘s fate in the reactor chamber, and allows him the death he was meant to have – one with meaning and dignity. This story is intense, powerful, and at times hard to read. Carolyn is such a good writer that you feel Kirk's despair and pain deeply. The story ends with Kirk and Spock together at the end of ST IV, and Kirk finally has his chance to declare his love (multiple times!). A passionate love making scene concludes this remarkable story. [4]


  1. The K/S Press #138 03/2008
  2. by Ivy, The Spock Press #136 01/2008
  3. The K/S Press #169 10/2010
  4. The K/S Press #143 08/2008