My ranting and raving about genetic defectives aside, I've made some progress this morning.
Took longer than expected, since the FO3 merchant system doesn't work like I thought. I had expected the merchant to work out of the currently enabled container. Turns out they don't.
Any container they own is fair game, as far as adding items into their barter screen; but if they don't have a designated "merchant container", then any caps from player purchases, or items bought from the player will go direct into their inventory.
This is, needless to say, not what I had in mind.
So I had to do some quick revising of my setup; re-enabled the original merchant container and caps management script, and now Chloe sells out of specific containers, but all of her purchases go into one central container, which is cleared and reset every time you load the access tunnels cell. Or so the script sayeth. I'm still not convinced the 'ResetInventory' function actually works... but I figure we can all deal with a few errant items appearing here and there. Doesn't seem to have slowed Ling's down any.
So far, it works. There are eight containers, counting the central one. The 'Enclave Surplus' option has been disabled for now, until I figure out how to slave a dialog topic to the enabled state of a reference. Doesn't seem possible offhand, so I may have to default to using the quest stage that enables the Enclave groups. Which would work, but would not enable with the Enclave Enabled mod or the like; it would only appear when you reach the requisite stage of the main quest.
May be unavoidable. Not that many people seem to run Enclave Enabled anyway, so I may be overstating the importance of this detail.
I did, however, decide to add a "special" inventory option, that will result in Chloe showing you her cache of the good stuff. Top-end game weapons in pristine condition. Of course, she also rapes you blue and tattoos you on the prices... but I figure it's a nice offset for being able to buy a 100% laser gatling at level one. The 20thCW plugin expands the 'special' container to include the nastiest things Ein has put into the game - heavy machineguns, grenade launchers, anti-material rifles, hand cannons. Again, be prepared to shell out serious cash to acquire them. I'm considering disabling the 'barter' option on the special items, so that like the Bobbleheads, it's cash or nothing; save that this will take place inside a barter screen, and not via dialog and script.
The containers/categories' currently set up are as follows: Ammo, Armor & Clothing, Chems & Meds, Miscellaneous, Power Armor, Weapons, Special Weapons.
Less success on the repair-er front. Nikola's repair screen appears fine, the trouble is she'll only repair to a value of ten. Which is largely worthless. I've looked around, and I think that value may be level-dependent. I checked, and Moira and Doc Hoff both only repair to fifteen. I'm at level six in this game. Kicker is, if fifteen is the limit for my level, why is Nikola at ten?
I'm still investigating that one. I've already tried the Nexus and Bethsoft forums; which were, as always, completely fucking useless. Nothing but posts on repairing NPC items by script, item sorters, and "repairing" a load order.
And people wonder why I eschew tutorials in general and prefer to just do shit on my own.
I'm sure I'll figure something out.