Note from the author: This story commemorates the anniversary of the 1980
blast of Mt. St. Helens.
May 18, 3004. The Planet Express crew were enjoying a beautiful day in
Washington State at the Johnson Ridge Observatory.
"Welcome to the Johnson Ridge Observatory," said the tour guide. "This day
marks the anniversary of the 1980 blast of the nearby mountain, one thousand
and twenty four years to be exact!"
"Boy this place sure has changed over time since I was last here," said Fry
his co-workers. "I was only five years old when the mountain literally blew
its top. I visited this observatory when I was only seven years old."
"Show us around Fry," said Leela.
"Alright," said Fry.
Fry and his co-workers stood on the balcony gazing across the landscape.
Not very far away was Mt. St. Helens.
"I heard that the guy this observatory was named after was nine miles away
at the time the volcano blew," said Fry. "And he was swept away by the blast,
never to be found."
"Whoa!" said the others.
"It's hard to believe that the scars of that fateful day have healed," said
Fry. "Years ago when I first came here, this land was barren and the
had a gaping crater. Now the forest has regrown, and the cone rebuilt."
"Nature repeats her cycle of destruction and creation," said Farnsworth.
Later the crew sat in the theatre room, watching a slide show of the
eruption's lateral blast.
"These pictures were taken by Gary Rosenquist," said the tour guide.
"Apparently, this was the most powerful part of the eruption, flattening the
forest around and blasting over a thousand feet off the top."
The others were spell-bound.
"In just a few minutes, 230 square miles were devastated," the guide
"The blast also triggered the biggest landslide ever in recorded history.
In fact, the entire north face of the mountain was removed during that
"Wow!" said everyone.
The tour guide continued to speak as the slide show continued.
"The eruption also triggered massive mudflows, pyroclastic surges, and a
column of ash which reached nineteen miles into the atmosphere in just
minutes. More than five hundred million tons of ash fell across four states,
although the ash clouds circled the globe in two weeks."
Everyone was awe-struck.
"That was absolutely amazing!" said Leela as they left the building.
"Sure was," said Farnsworth. "Yet compared to Krakatoa, Tambora, and other
major eruptions, the blast of Mt. St. Helens was quite small, still it was
"It's such a beautiful day," said Fry. "Let's take the rest of the day off
"I'm going to go hiking," said Fry.
"Me too," said Leela.
"I'm going swimming," said Amy.
"And I think Kif and I will do some fishing," said Bender.
As everyone climbed into the ship, Farnsworth held up his hand.
"May I have everyone's attention please?" he said.
Everyone turned to him.
"That's better," said Farnsworth. "Take a look at this wall here," he said. "I
have installed the ship's newest feature. A time machine!"
Everyone oohed. On the wall was a computer monitor with several buttons next
"With this new feature, we can make all our deliveries on time. If we're
we just go back in time a few minutes, and bingo! No more late deliveries!"
"Can we go now?" asked Fry.
"Hang on everyone!" said Leela as she starts the ship.
Fry is caught off balance as the ship ascends and slams into the wall near
time machine. He finger hits a button. The time and date on the monitor
rapidly change, until he regains his senses and balance. He removes his
from the button.
As Fry, Leela, Kif, Amy, and Bender, went their separate ways to enjoy
themselves, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Farnsworth, stayed behind to relax.
Fry and Leela are hiking through the forest. Bender and Kif are fishing down
the Toutle River as Amy bathes downstream.
However, no one seemed to notice the date that the monitor now read.
May 18, 1980
"What a beautiful day," said Leela. "The birds are chirping."
"Yeah," said Fry. "This was a pretty good idea."
Downstream, Amy washes herself and admires her reflection. Half a mile away,
Kif and Bender are still fishing.
"Strange," said Kif. "The fish don't seem to be biting."
Outside the ship, Zoidberg and Farnsworth are relaxing. Hermes goes back
"Such a beautiful day," he said to himself. "Now I must make my daily
inspection of the ship."
He looks around. "Everything looks alright!" he said.
Then his attention was turned to the monitor on the wall.
"Huh?" he said.
He took a closer look.
"Oh my god!"
He runs back outside.
"Professor!" he exclaims.
"What now?" asked Farnsworth.
"I believe the others may be in peril!"
"What are you talking about?" asked Farnsworth.
"Do you know what time it is?!"
Farnsworth checks his watch.
"It's 8:31 A.M."
"Exactly!" said Hermes. "But you know what day it is?!"
"Of course! May 18th."
"Somehow, we've gone back in time!"
Farnsworth suddenly feels a chill run down his spine. "Uh oh! We must get
At 8:32, nine kilometers away from the mountain, David Johnson is monitoring
Suddenly he hears a rumble. His gaze turns to Mt. St. Helens.
He runs to his radio and turns it on.
"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"
Eleven miles away from the mountain, Gary Rosenquist sets up his camera and
begins to photograph the unfolding drama.
The earthquake detected by Johnson had jarred loose the bulging north side
the mountain and it began to slide down in the largest landslide in recorded
history. As the avalanche of rock collapsed, explosions burst from the
top and punched through the landslide.
Gary Rosenquist continues to photograph pictures, awestruck. He's never seen
anything like it.
The explosion was heard as far away as British Columbia, yet those near the
mountain never heard a thing.
Fry and Leela continued their hike through the forest, unaware of what's to
A rumbling sound is heard.
"Fry, is that your stomach?" asked Leela.
"No," said Fry.
"It's not mine," said Leela.
"Something's hungry," said Fry. "Maybe it's a bear!"
Up ahead, Fry and Leela catch sight of a black cloud approaching through the
"What the?!" said Fry.
The rumbling grew louder as the cloud rose above the trees and approached
"Fry, I think we should make a run for it!" said Leela.
"Good idea," said Fry.
They turn and begin to run as fast as they could.
Unfortunately, they had barely run fifteen feet, when suddenly, the cloud
burst through the trees. Hurricane force winds threw Fry and Leela to the
ground as trees toppled and exploded around them. Soon, they were covered
by fallen trees and branches as the cloud passes over them.
Fry gulped. "I think we've had it!"
Then everything went black.
Down the Toutle River, Bender and Kif were still fishing without any luck.
"The fish don't seem to be biting today," said Kif. "How odd."
"You think that's odd?!" said Bender. "Look at that!"
Coming down the river, are hundreds of fallen trees.
"What's going on?!" cried Kif.
Then, Kif heard a voice calling for help.
"It's Amy!" said Kif. "She's in trouble!"
Amy was in danger. Caught in the flood, she was being carried away down the
river by the trees.
Kif dropped his fishing rod and ran down the river. "I'm coming Amy!" he
"Wait for me!" said Bender as he dropped his fishing rod and ran after Kif.
"I don't know if I can aid, but I'm certain I can bill you for it!"
Kif leaps towards the river and lands on a log. Amy is pulled under the
a second time.
Kif hops across the river over the logs until he catches sight of Amy
surfacing. Then she's knocked under the surface a third time.
Using his suction ability (seen Amazon Women In the Mood, and Kif Gets
Up A Notch), Kif gets down, clings to the log he's standing on, and reaches
into the water.
"Bender!" he called. "Keep the trees away from us at all times!"
"Alright!" said Bender. "But you owe me!"
Bender outstretches his arms towards Kif and stops a log in its place.
Kif succeeds in pulling Amy out of the water and onto the log.
"Kif! My hero!"
Amy hugs him.
"Get us out of here Bender!" Kif said.
Bender grabs Kif and Amy, then retracts his arms. Soon, Kif and Amy are on
the ground, wet but safe.
"Thanks Bender," said Kif.
"We owe you one!" said Amy.
"Ahem!" said Bender. He puts his hand out.
Kif hands him ten dollars.
The Planet Express ship lands nearby.
"Thank god you're alright!" said Hermes.
"What's going on?" asked Kif.
"We'll find out soon enough," said Hermes.
As Farnsworth flies the ship through the sky, everyone looks out a window.
"Oh my god!" said Hermes.
He's staring at Mt. St. Helens, which is now erupting in full fury.
Pyroclastic surges descend down the slopes as a plinian column of ash rises
80,000 feet into the air. The sky is beginning to darken.
"Somehow we've traveled back in time to May 18th, 1980," said Hermes.
"It's hard to believe that an eruption this powerful is dwarfed by Krakatoa
and Tambora, along with other major eruptions of the past," said Farnsworth.
"Oh no," said Kif.
"What?" asked Amy.
"I just had a horrible thought," said Kif. "What's happened to Fry and
It has been thirty three minutes since the eruption started. In the blast
zone, there appear to be no sign of life. The darkening sky only reveals the
dark outlines of dead trees.
Then suddenly, fallen trees are slowly pushed up. Fry and Leela painfully
to their feet. Both are covered in something gray, removing all color from
"We're alive!" said Fry. "Did you get the license number of that truck?"
"I don't think that was a truck that hit us," said Leela.
"Then what was it?" asked Fry.
"I'm not sure," said Leela.
"Leela! Your hair!" Fry cries.
Leela's ponytail is clogged with ash and frayed. Along with Fry, her clothes
are torn in several places.
"I'm in tremendous pain," said Leela.
"Me too!" said Fry. He struggles to stand up straight. "I feel so weak."
"It's hard to stand up straight," said Leela.
Then they both collapsed to their knees.
The Planet Express ship lands several miles away.
"It's too dark to see anything," said Kif. "Since it's too risky to fly,
have to search on foot."
Everyone takes a flashlight and steps down into the darkening grey
"Would you look at that!" said Zoidberg. "Nothing could have survived this!"
"There's got to be survivors!" said Hermes. "Fry and Leela must be found!"
Meanwhile, Fry and Leela slowly step forth through the landscape. That have
cling to each other to stand up straight.
"Leela, in case we don't survive," said Fry. "I just want you to know..."
"Fry don't," said Leela. "Somehow, we'll live to see another day!"
"If you say so" said Fry.
After only walking half a mile from where they started, Fry and Leela
"Fry! Leela! Where are you?!" called Hermes.
"It's no use," said Zoidberg. "We'll never find them."
"There still may be a hope," said Kif.
"Many who died were never found," said Zoidberg.
"I know Leela well!" said Amy. "She won't be beaten so easily!"
In the distance, Fry suddenly rose his head.
"I hear voices!" he said.
"Me too!" said Leela as she rose her head. "The others must be searching for
"Over here!" they both called.
Not very far away...
"I heard something!" said Kif.
"That sounded like Fry and Leela!" said Hermes. "They're alive!"
They ran forth.
"Come on you two!" said Hermes. "Keep calling! Let us know where you are!"
"We're over here!" said Fry.
"There they are!" said Kif. "We found them!"
Fry and Leela rose.
"Thank god you two are alright!" said Hermes.
"My god!" said Farnsworth. "You two are in bad shape!"
"Can someone tell us what is going on?" asked Leela.
"We'll explain later," said Hermes.
Suddenly, Fry and Leela passed out unconscious.
"Fry!? Leela!?" cried Hermes. "Oh no! Hold on you two! Don't cash out on us
When Fry and Leela awoke, they lay in twin hospital beds.
"Where are we?" asked Fry.
"At the hospital," said Farnsworth. "Back in 3004."
"Somehow we've traveled back through time to May 18th, 1980," said Kif.
"But now, we're back home," said Hermes. "It's great that we're all still
"You've both suffered second degree burns to two thirds of your body," said
Farnsworth. "But you'll make a full recovery in a few days thanks to
"Thanks," said Leela. "Although it will take me longer to grow my ponytail
"All that matters is that you're alive," said Hermes. "Now you two must rest.
We'll come back tomorrow to check up on you."
The others leave Fry and Leela alone.
"It's hard to believe that I've actually been to a volcanic eruption that
occurred when I was only five years old," said Fry. "But it's also more hard
to believe that we survived."
"We'll be out of here in a few days," said Leela.
"Well one thing's for sure," said Fry.
"What's that?" asked Leela.
"We've never been closer."
"You said it."
Fifty seven people died that fateful day. Among them were David Johnson, the
volcanologist who first forecast the eruption, and Harry Truman, the owner
of Spirit Lake Lodge who had refused to leave the land he land. Of all those
who died, they were the most famous. Many bodies were never found.
The total damage was estimated at two billion dollars. It was the worst
volcanic disaster in the history of the United States.
Today, the scars are healing. Within a century, there will be a thriving
forest around the mountain which is slowly repairing itself. Life is
to the mountain. The area is now a volcanic national monument.
The Johnson Ridge Observatory was built to honor the memory of David
Another ridge and a trail were named for Harry Truman.
Nature repeats her old cycle of destruction and creation as she as done
throughout Earth's existence. Although the damage of May 18th, 1980 will one
day be repaired, it will forever go down in history as a blast from the