Yup, I wasn't on the call (IT handled it) but the support response may be because the instance is still on SP1, not SP3 (just guessing on reason).
In any case, the on-site DBA was finally able to restore the Master, supposedly after dealing with a compressed drive (not sure what genius compressed the drive with the databases on it) and cluster issues. Good news is system is up, and we were able to recover all the databases. Got rid of existing replication setup and ran scripted setup successfully. Most things are working fine now, although some residual issues with a remote subscriber not getting added correctly (add seems fine, but subscriber has no record and remote distributor agent job does not list subscriber). Now that I "say this out loud", I'm thinking of more things I can check.
Thanks for suggestions, it is always nice to know there is someone out there. 🙂