King tapped his fingers. “I’m in the market for a nuclear weapon. Hans, what have you got for me.”

“Oh, is that all?” Dr. Ottomeyer said. “Would you perhaps like a space station as well?”

“If you have one,” King said, smiling. “But I am serious about the nuclear weapon.”

Hans sighed. “There are approximately 45 nuclear weapons unaccounted for since 1945. I suppose I could recover one for you, given my usual–astronomical–fee. But it might be easier to just build your own.”

“No, not since Kim’s last check bounced,” King said. “What have you got for me?”

“Well,” Dr. Ottomeyer said. “There is a Mark XV thermonuclear bomb off the coast of Georgia. Probably buried in 50 feet of bituminous ooze, but theoretically recoverable.”

“Bomb?” King said. “Like a gravity bomb? That sounds old.”

“1958,” Hans confirmed. “And you’ll need a strategic bomber or a very large hand cart to deliver it.”

“Pass. What else you got?”

Hans rubbed his nose. “If 1970 isn’t too disco for you, the Soviet submarine K-8 sunk with four nuclear torpedoes.”

“Listen to yourself,” King cried. “Nuclear torpedoes? What a laughingstock I’d be. That is all wet, literally.”

“Hmph. How about an R-21 thermonuclear ballistic missile?” Dr. Ottomeyer said. “34 of them are missing, stolen from the wreck of K-219.”

“I thought the American government salvaged it,” King said.

“You’re thinking of K-129,” said Hans. “Stay out of any ex-Soviet sub with a 9 in its hull number. I can scientifically prove that it’s doomed.”

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