"I managed to the point where you must recover information from the M-9 machine, but when I attempt to use it it does not prompt me for what action I want to perform (use code/type random letters), instead the text goes gray and I'm left completely stuck. I've tried loading earlier saves but no avail."
If you want pass this, dont use livesforever mod. no mod or other mod help this problem.
"forcing my way through dozens of crashes."
Run prime 95 atleast 3 hour , i have earlier same problem, game crash when loading and when join to server. Now have 3 hour prime 95 blend stable machine and nolf2 crashes very rare.
solution is my case to increase memory voltages 0.1 V