Sounds like a house call. smirk

I'd like to take look at the logs. We might want to test RAM too.

I'd say put the mini into Target Disk mode and boot the MBP from that and see if it installs, to see if it's a corrupt system or bad hardware, but your FW port is blown. I wonder if a thunderbolt to FW adapter would work.

Talk to you Friday sometime. I have some other ideas.