Temporary Duty Book
Temporary Duty is a science fiction book written by Ric Locke.
The story is about two lowest-ranks Navy men who had an unique opportunity to come aboard the first alien ship that ever visited Earth ahead of everyone else. The year is 2053, United States is being run by bureaucrats, IRS agents are everywhere and all Navy officers are kids of the power magnates. The enlisted Navy men are much more adaptable to the alien ways and languages than the officers, so they gain an upper hand in space after barely surviving on the war-devastated Earth.
All aliens share humanoid traits and for the most part act very much like humans. It becomes apparent that the humans have much to offer because their technology has evolved independently from all the other aliens.
The plot thickens when one of the men realizes that his enlistment has ended, he's no longer a member of the US Navy and he can live his own life and make his own decisions aboard the alien spaceship....
The book was written in the late nineties and further revised in early 2000s. It was edited by Michael Caffrey, the late husband of Barb Caffrey, the author of Elfyverse books.
Being an unknown author Ric Locke was never able to find a publisher. At the requests from his friends and fellow bloggers he self-published his book on amazon.com in July 2011. The book has sold really well, at some point reaching the #7 rank on Amazon.com "Science Fiction Bestsellers"
At the request of Jim Baen, Ric has removed some of the chapters and reworked the ending from being very downbeat to something approaching a "happy ending". The downbeat ending was never published, but it's still available here
The cover of the book was designed by Stoaty Weasel. It was originally just a placeholder design, but it stuck. The exploding starship in the background was added later as a result of a bet between Ric and one of his friends.