Yeah, Albion Prelude doesn't really start off much differently than Terran Conflict, and isn't really any more complicated. Either one is fine. Just get the bundle, keep TC and AP, and trade/give away the rest. Those two are really the only games you need from it.
"How do I get rid of a Trojan Horse?" -Sailor_Kakashi "Leave it outside the gates of Troy overnight." -Davel23
Rebirth is going to be quite different than X3 it seems. It looks amazing no doubt, but it seems like the mechanics of trade, fighting, and freedom are in different directions. Rebirth is a remake, not a sequel.
I've been thinking about starting another game of AP to wait out until Rebirth, but I don't even know if I have the time to do another proper play before then with real-life responsibilities.