In an effort to play more games with the limited collection of painted figures that I have ready now*, I've been dabbling in Ganesha Games' Song of... series of rules. The results were cautiously optimistic.
After a bit more faffing about the internet, it looks more and more like my big mistake was in starting with Mutants and Death Ray Guns. It's got no points costs, focus on low-power weapons, and a few other wrinkly bits. It's a good starter set, but not quite the generic ruleset I was hoping for. The consensus seems to be that Flying Lead makes a better all-around generic sci-fi skirmish set. It's a bit more complicated, and it needs one or more quick fixes (hat tip to Dale for these) to really suit your own personal taste. What game doesn't? Throw in a dash of Fear and Faith for some alien (the force/psionic?) powers and you've got a nice flexible set of rules.
Which means I'm likely going to be sending another $16 Ganesha Games' way in short order. Which brings my total investment in this beer and pretzels game to almost $40...first taste is free my friend, gotta pay for the rest. It's an interesting business model, this Chinese water torture form of rules collection, but I'm not complaining. Heck, some games you can't buy a figure for eight bucks, let alone a full ruleset.
*Before diving back into platoon level skirmish, I really need to paint up another couple of squads of GZG's Space Mercs with some sort of auxiliaries like power armor.