Laptop was working fine, had put a new SSD in it so I new that the drive wasn't an issue, and I was able to boot when I ran the startup disk via a USB cable. I was worried I'd need a new logic board or something so I was on the verge of abandoning this laptop, I've have it for 3 years and it had served me well... but then I did some poking around online and decided to give this $50 solution a try as it really seemed that it was this connection between the drive and the logic board that was at fault.
Honestly this was pretty easy... painless and quick. Probably spent about 15-minutes on this repair. Putting an SSD into the new MacMini was a complete nightmare, as opening up a lot of Apple's products can be, but this was a simple and affordable solution that completely made my week.
These repairs are easier than they seem, just make sure you have the necessary tools... I'd recommend getting a little toolkit for this sort of thing.