Because I'm on a time crunch (would like to get this fixed for this weekend but not life or death) I opted to make my own factory cable. I soldered everything, tested continuity at all the pins on the microusb side, on the usb side and at the splices and everything appeared fine.
I plugged in cable on both ends, the Kindle showed the normal white and orange logo but the PC (Win 7) popped up with "USB device not recognized". Went to device manager and saw "unknown device". Proceeded to uninstall drivers, update Google usb drivers in SDK, installed drivers via KFU "install_drivers.bat". None of that worked. Just to confirm I inputted "adb devices" and "fastboot devices", both returned me back to prompt with no results. KFU showed "offline/unknown".
I have a 2nd machine (Win XP) that I'll start from scratch with, hopefully it get me somewhere. But in the meantime I'll do some more digging. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to them.