Arse Lung

Written by Barron

WARNING! This article contains graphic writing involving trauma and gore. Read at your own discretion.
This is Fal McKinney, third day in Rhodium Tube III. I can still smell the rotten eggs, It's so ingrained in my nostrils the only reason I know I'm not infected is cause I'm still alive. I started the lockdown. Pretty sure they aren't sending shit down until the Arse-lung starves out with the rest of us. So much blood- Wheel save me, I want to see my husband again.
— Excavation Log, Digger Company, Rhodium Tube III Expansion Project


Arse Lung also known as Shaft Killer, The Mountain's Curse, Sulfur Suffer, and Miner's Plague, is a disease native to Perduro that is responsible for thousands of deaths in the mines of Mount Dau-Sajhrashi. The bacteria-based disease garners its name because of the Hydrogen Sulfide gas produced in the lungs, giving the infected breath that stinks of rotten eggs.

The Disease spreads through airborne and liquid vectors and is extremely resistant and aggressive once it buries into the lungs of its host. Death of an infected can occur in less than twenty-four hours of the first contact, and symptoms only become visible within the last-stage of the disease. Many cases are lucky to survive even with modern medicine where the only effective treatment is total lung replacement.

Discovery and Research

I can't take it anymore! The Stench! It's Rotten! Everyone's Rotten! This must be Hedon. A new Bioweapon; Desire, you bitch! All Dead. Why down here?! I can't a-all dead! [audio unintelligible with coughing and sounds of vomitting] It's like plasma in my lungs! GAAaa-
— Shaft Titanium Incident
Arse Lung was an accidental discovery during the Melancholic Lacuna, in which two dozen drone miners were suddenly killed after complaining about a foul stench. The mine elevator then reported a malfunction, triggering a company response who expect an explosion. When the rescue crew arrived into the mines, they reported a macabre horror scene that sent the city of Digger's Rock into a panic.
This is rescue crew to Control... {unintelligible background muttering} Do not let anyone out of the mines. Not even us. Total loss. Blood's turned the floor into mud. They jammed the elevator with their bodies to keep us out. They crushed themselves, Control. [A loud sigh lingers on the call] Wheel have mercy on us. Please transfer me to my kids, I want to say goodbye.
— Titanium Incident Rescue Crew

In what is the largest emergency response in Perduro history, all mines on Perduro were quarantined for three months. No one entered, no one left. Supplies of food and water were delivered to the mines by self-destructing drones. The planet economy sunk into a depression and martial law was declared. The only research that could be done on the disease was a video stream the rescue crew beamed back to the surface before they perished. The Autopsy revealed that the miners had been infected with some sort of super-bacteria after blasting into a water-filled chasm. The disease had claimed their lungs, before spreading to their hearts.

When the mines reopened, only those who had made it to the quarantine line had survived. Two of the three shafts had been affected by Arse-lung, and within each, they waded through a crusted layer of blood and bodies claimed by the disease. The rescue crew who allowed the surface to see the horrors had taken turns overdosing on their assigned opiates, rather than letting the disease claim them. Overall, eight thousand souls were lost, their bodies were incinerated where they died. Measures were taken to protect the miners in the future and work slowly and cautiously continued.


Arse Lung bacterium was discovered in the mines, able to survive off what small creatures touched infected water. The Bacteria has an advanced capability to enter dormancy when no suitable hosts are present. They survive on the surface of contaminated water, awakened only by massive shifts in its environment.

First Stage

Known as the Shade Stage, due to its invisible nature, first stage infection begins with first contact and ends within five to six hours. During this stage, the disease is near invisible to detect except for swab sampling, which is required at every automated checkpoint. The Disease finds its way through contaminated water, waste, and air into the lungs of the host where it begins binding itself with the alveoli. The bacterium multiplies and travels through the air within the lungs, contaminating 70-80% of the available surface area before triggering its second stage.

Second Stage

The bacterium within the lungs begins to dissolve the proteins inside the lungs, producing Hydrogen-sulfide as a byproduct. This process is what gives the disease its name. An infected breathes out the byproduct of the bacterium, which smells of rotten-eggs. This stage typically lasts for around eight hours. Late into this stage, the diseased will begin to spit and cough out massive amounts of blood. Breathing becomes near impossible as the lungs are not only being dissolved but are now filled with blood. If not caught within the first hour of this stage, the infection is guaranteed to be fatal.

Final Stage

The Bacterium has punched entirely through the flesh of the lungs and begins to devour other organs. The heart, liver, spleen, and stomach begin to dissolve away at a quickening pace. Ulcers begin to form on the body, and skin begins to necrotize. Convulsions, seizures, and vomiting are the final symptoms of the central nervous system and the digestive tract being dissolved away. The cadaver of the infected serves as a carrier until the bacteria return to hibernation. Burning the corpse is the only recommended method to cleanse away the disease.

Preventitve Measures

The new threat of Arse Lung forced a rework of the entire mining process on Perduro as well as the establishment of the Disease Control branch of the local government.

Enviroseals and pre-packaged water are distributed to every worker at the beginning of their shift. There is no running water within the mines, and there is a checkpoint at every mile marker of a new mineshaft. These checkpoints are equipped with automatic swabbing stations to check for bacterium as well as extra Enviroseal filters, rations and lockdown buttons.

Implanted every one hundred feet are hydrogen-sulfide detectors, called 'Canary Alarms' by the miners. If any of these sensors are triggered, all checkpoints instantly go into lockdown mode. Locked-down checkpoints will only allow one person to enter at a time, where they can take their swab test and walk out. If a diseased person is detected within a checkpoint, that checkpoint will no longer open at all until the lockdown is lifted.

I died from Arse Lung once. I don't get phased by much, but that was fucked up. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Well, no, that's not true.

Article Navigation

Alternate Names

  • Shaft Killer
  • Mountain's Curse
  • Sulfur Suffer
  • Miner's Plague
Death Toll
16534 (Lifetime)

Initial outbreak killed about twelve thousand miners. A later gas explosion from Mount Dau-Sajhrashi infected a nearby Refinery Mill, killing two thousand workers.

Coughing, Wheezing, Rotten-Egg Stench, Vomiting and Coughing Blood, Seizures, Coma

Usual Onset
~One to Two hours after exposure

Diagnostic Method
Swabbing of Saliva, Sputum

Strong Mine Regulation and Quarantine

Supportive Care, Lung Transplant (First to Second Stage only)

~99% Fatality Rate if caught past Stage One
~20% Fatality Rate if caught during Stage One

~10 cases per year


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5 Jul, 2018 00:31

Well that's morbid and sickening, well done.

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5 Jul, 2018 00:50

All this cheery and funny writing, time for something a bit... darker.

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Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
5 Jul, 2018 05:48

Why the hell didn't you liked Barron's work ? :P You are a cruel master - you are!

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5 Jul, 2018 06:09

We Ethnis Camper Co-Authors have generally held to a pact of not inflating eachother's likes during summer camp.

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Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
5 Jul, 2018 05:48

Really good work Barron - consider your game seriously stepped up!

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5 Jul, 2018 05:53

Thanks Dimitris! I'm really glad you liked it.

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5 Jul, 2018 05:54

Congratulations. I'm fucking terrified

5 Jul, 2018 16:05

Mission Accomplished

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5 Jul, 2018 16:02

For some reason, I can’t get over the facts that 1) eggs are mentioned and 2) one could also call this Fart Breath disease... But damn, that’s gross and scary? I can understand why people would fear it so much... Nice job!

5 Jul, 2018 16:05

I'm sorry! Not a good article to read over breakfast! Haha. I'm glad you enjoyed it though.

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5 Jul, 2018 20:27

Jesus [REDACTED] Christ, I couldn't even get through all of this; it gave me the heebee-jeebees something fierce! Those audio logs though, holy crap! They really set the mood. Have you considered voicing them? I think with that set to some creepy ambiance would really elevate this article. Other than that, good freakking job, sheesh!

5 Jul, 2018 20:32

Well crapola, a bummer you couldn't get through the whole thing. Understandable though, the stages are pretty brutal.   Funny you should mention that, Ademal and I were just discussing the possibility of voice acting some of the logs. That's a lot of trauma to try and recreate though.   Thanks for the compliments and feedback!

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5 Jul, 2018 20:45

Don't worry, after I finished this comment and put my big girl panties on, I managed to get through it! All I can say is, those poor miners :( Also, LOL at the last quote. That guy's a dick.

5 Jul, 2018 20:53

Hehe, yeah, that's the guy who owns the planet. He's a notorious jerk.

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5 Jul, 2018 20:37

Based on the title, I thought this was going to be another humorous article. It wasn't.   Loved it; the details warm my macabre heart. It's just the right length to give a good amount of detail without overly dwelling on the gore.

5 Jul, 2018 21:24

Awesome! I've been a bit paranoid about the length not holding readers, so I'm glad you got just the right amount from it! Thank you for the feedback

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5 Jul, 2018 21:10

Good lord. This is incredibly well written and thought out, much to the reader's displeasure (the good kind, though!)

5 Jul, 2018 22:24

Thank you! It was uh... not the funniest to research haha!

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5 Jul, 2018 21:32

The grossest page on here. Good job!

5 Jul, 2018 22:25

"Hi, my name is Tikal, and this is the grossest article on World Anvil."   Seriously thank you!

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6 Jul, 2018 02:12

I’m scared that whenever I’ll have another Asthma attack I’ll try to smell my breath. o_o’

6 Jul, 2018 02:58

Oh mah gosh that's horrible. Please don't eat eggs and go for a marathon.

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7 Aug, 2020 12:08

I was going to like this article, because it is very well done, but I do not like this article and I couldn't stop reading it and what did you do to me...? Good thing I am not planning to sleep any time soon...   Very well done, of course!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
7 Aug, 2020 16:21

I'm sorry! Maybe I should put a warning on top?

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7 Aug, 2020 20:16

Hahaha, I didn't mean that! I mean it's like... When the choices are "like" or "nothing" and I read a rather gruesome well written article... Well, the "like" button feels morally wrong even when it's true. :X   This is a very well written article and you did a great job pulling in the worldbuilding about the impact it had on everything, and the personal flavor of the people it hurt in the meantime. It is a great article.   Although now that you mention adding a content warning, honestly that's not a bad idea.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
7 Aug, 2020 23:28

Added a little aloud at the top! Hopefully that should ward away the weak of stomach!   But yeah, I'm really glad you enjoyed the writing, I remember this being a very personal test of my ability to write in a gruesome fashion, something that I always envied Ademal's ability in doing.   Your words mean a lot!

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