Sorry about the sudden hiatus. Without going into Bleat-like detail, it involved a series of problems I could not palm off on others: a meeting-room snafu, several loads of laundry, and the Mother of Unfinishable Stories. You really don't want to hear about dirty socks and fabric softener, so we'll focus elsewhere.
I write stories. They vary in length and can be split into two rough groups: Laser Beams and No Laser Beams. Some friends and family pooh-pooh the Laser Beam genre, but I find it to be satisfying on several levels. First, there's the boyish love of adventure; second, there's the inner nerd who half-expects an alien invasion of Crappy New Jersey, to be repelled by a ragtag alliance of night elves and Marines; third, there's a writer's love of challenge. In any given plot the lasers usually cause more problems than they solve. Why did this work, but now it can't? Why didn't the hero zap the villian? Even Superman eventually had to have Kryptonite to give the poor plot a fighting chance.
The current M.O.U.S. has Laser Beams, but instead of cooking up some Kryptonite for the leads, I've decided to use what's already lying around. The basic idea is that even with exotic tools at their disposal, there are still bills to be paid, obligations to meet, and people to help, and large smoking craters are not a universal solution. And lest you think this is simply "Death of a Ferengi" (209th Rule of Acquisition: Attention must be paid, but not in cash), there are many buckles to swash. Our hero shoots, dukes, snoops, and gads about an entire solar system, and still gets in some poker. (Even in space, cops can't solve crimes without at least one visit to a casino or a strip joint.) The secret is knowing when to shoot and when to bluff - and in this case, how much of the responsibility you get to fob off on the very people trying to catch you first.
If I pull it off, I'll be quite pleased. But this has led to some scant output here - most of my recent online time has been over at Dawn Eden's comment sections. You are invited to join the fun. (She has possibly the best post title ever to appear on Internet. Do go.) I'll be making it up to you all over the weekend as best as I can, and thanks for bearing with me.