The dim fluorescent lights buzzed softly above, as the nine individuals looked at one another uneasily. The clock on the wall ticked the time down, and there was the occasional nervous cough. The windowless room they were seated in didn't do anything to improve the mood, with its peeling, yellowed wallpaper or the stale donuts by the door. Finally, the man with the stitches on his neck who was seated at the front of the room spoke up.
"Hi, my name is Dyne, and I've been decomissioned."
Dyne stood up, cleared his throat nervously, and went on. "I have been decommissioned for about 2 years now, and my life has been one of continuous improvements. At first things were very hard, with many trials and tribulations. Nobody wanted to use the "super kawaii bonsai swordsman" in any of their fictional works. Things seemed like a dead end to me. But then I managed to obtain a position as a minor character in a tale, and that's been paying the bills. I've always been a little bit annoyed that I never got a tale that was worthy of my greatness like some of you did, but overall I have been living my life to its greatest potential."
There was a smattering of applause as he sat back in his seat.
The Moose Man clasped his hand to Dyne's shoulder and spoke. "Dyne, these last few weeks you have shown us the best way to behave as a -D. You have dignity, you respect the reasons why you were bumped off, and you're coming to terms with having gotten pneumatic bolts shoved into your balls and then being fired into the sun. We can learn from your experience."
He looked down at the list in front of him. "Alright, I believe that Dreamer was next?"
Dyne sat down, and the teenage kid sitting in the folding chair next to him stood up. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, and had a rough look about him, like he was seconds away from either going on a rampage or breaking down in tears.
"Hi, my name is Dreamer, and I was decommissioned."
He wiped his eyes, and began speaking. "It's been really hard living as a decommissioned article. Lots of other guys will mock you for it, try and tell you that you aren't good enough. I guess that's part of life now and I accept that… but it's still hard sometimes."
The Moose Man put up his enormous hairy hand. "I'm going to stop you there, because I think this is an excellent time to go over the 5 steps of being decommissioned. Anyone care to read them?"
Ben the Cyborg spoke up. "No problem Moose, I can remember them from memory partition 45-B. Can I rattle 'em off?"
The Invincible D-Class nodded. "Go right ahead."
"Okay," said Ben. "The first step is to accept that we fall below -10, and we see that there is no rewrite forthcoming. We look at our own imminent destruction, and we accept it."
"Very good, please continue."
Ben nodded. "The second step is to accept the new author, and to work with, not against them as they write your decomm story.
"The third step is to accept the fact that you have been destroyed, and to appreciate any person who reads you to see what not to do.
"Fourthly, you must learn to deal with other articles harassing you. They compare themselves to you, say they're better, but we know that any article that does that must be insecure in its own quality if it needs to compare itself to a decomm to feel better."
Moose Man smiled, showing off his horrific and terrible dental work. "Very good. Now what is the last step?"
Ben's artificial lips spread wide into a smile. "To find other articles like us, and to help them go through their own decommissioning."
Moose Man patted Ben on the back, applying enough force to knock one of his simulated optical modules out of the artificial socket. "Very good. Does anybody want to volunteer to share their story next?"
The man closest to the door raised his hand. Moose Man pointed at him. "You may go next then."
The man seated by the door stood up. He wore unremarkable clothing, had jet black hair, and deep brown eyes. He smiled at the motley collection seated before him, showing of his sharpened teeth, and began speaking.
"Hey kids, I'm Duke. Yes, the Duke. In the flesh. I know many of you might be amazed by being in my presence, so I'll give you a minute to get it out of your systems."
The individuals seated before him let out a collection of sighs, groans, and sarcastic muttering. They had all heard Duke's egotistical posturing before. Duke waited a full minute before he began speaking again, in a boisterous tone.
"As all you peons know, I've been living life in the fast lane. I'm the most famous decommissioned SCP, so I always get all the best character spots when someone writes a tale about us. And of course, I have regular work with Duke till' Dawn. You could say that I'm the best decomm of them all."
"Peanuts is better," said the Invincible D-Class.
"Peanuts shmeanuts, you aren't even on the top rated page," sneered Duke, leering at the Invincible D-Class with a smirk on his face.
"He's right you know," said Joey, sitting in his chair with a cigar in his mouth. "Duke till' dawn is the stupidest, most lolfoundation story I've ever heard. You just like to go an' brag about it cos ya don't have anythin' else to go on, ya chump."
Before the argument could persist Moose Man stood up, his enormous hairy frame almost bringing him up to the room's ceiling.
"That is enough from you all. This is supposed to be a constructive meeting, not a contest of who has the best stories or is the least terrible. If you weren't terrible you wouldn't be here."
Grumbling, Duke sat back down in his seat. As his chair creaked from his weight, a wave of awkwardness washed over the room. For a few seconds, nobody spoke. Then The Moose Man coughed a little, and asked;
"Anybody want to go next?"
"I will," said the Palauan woman emitting thick, black viscous fluids from her body. "My name is Dolores, and I was -ARC'd."
There was a long silence.
"Hey, wait a minute here, ain't it supposed to be just decomms in this here support group?" asked Joey, turning his attention to The Moose Man. There was a murmur of agreement from the rest of the assembled cretins.
"Well yes," sighed The Moose Man, his odorous breath incinerating the nose hairs of all those around him. "That's nominally what we are here for, but I invited Dolores here because she's the most hated -ARC, and has it just as bad as you all do. Now show our guest some respect." He stomped his big sweaty, smelly feet on the floor, indicating the matter was closed.
Dolores sneezed a little, and began speaking. "My name is Dolores, and I am the sufferer of the world's sorrows. You might think that gets a person a very large amount of work in the fiction writing, but I am mistaken in that. Nobody wants to write the stories about me, all they do is look at me and say how awful I am."
"That's because you are awful." Duke sneered, leaned back in his chair and shot her the meanest look he could muster. "You're by far the worst -ARC."
"Duke!" admonished The Moose Man, his hideous nostril flares indicating an imminent lecture. However, before he could proceed, the other -D's began to speak up.
The Invincible D-Class was the first to pipe up. "You can be quiet Duke, none of us want to hear it."
"Yeah." Joey sat up in his seat. "You can take all these comments of yours and shove 'em right up your ass. You just like to tear other people down."
Duke looked at him angrily. "So what if I do? You people have nowhere lower to go. All you do is wax about how you really aren't that bad, but you are. You suck. The only person who has produced anything worthwhile abouts this place is me!"
"Oh please," the Invincible D-Class scoffed. "You have the most ridiculous, over the top decomm on the database. Peanuts is much lower key, and is clearly more realisti-"
Ben the Cyborg cut him off. "My termination log helped build the character of Dr. Gears in a way no other tale had before it! Clearly my decommissioning log is the one which should be considered superior!"
The Moose Man raised his hideous wrinkled hands up in the air and spoke in a booming, spittle filled voice. "GENTLEMEN! This discussion will get us nowhere. And you're all wrong anyways. I have the best decomm log of any of us!"
A collective groan emanated from the assembled party.
"Bullshit you have the best one." Joey leaped to his hind legs. "Your log doesn't have one interesting thing happen!"
Dolores spoke up. "I agree with-"
"Shut up Dolores, this doesn't concern a mere -ARC," growled Duke, rising to his feet and grimacing. "The only thing that can make these boneheads see the truth is a beating!"
Scarcely had the words left Dukes lips before The Moose Man used one of his disgusting hairy hands to smack him upside his vampiric cranium.
"Stop instigating violence! And admit that my story is best!"
"No mine is!"
As the bickering dissolved into straight up arguing, and finally into fistfights, the coffee cup watched with its holy, judgmental eye. It saw that their mortal flaws would never let them work together towards a peaceful purpose. It saw their failures, and it did not approve.
And besides, it had the best decomm story of them all.