Once again i have repaired my system with no outside help. Turns out my initial diagnosis was correct, the motherboard was cooked. In theory, the problem could be repaired, but the level of expertise is beyond me, and the ultimate pricetag on employing an expert would surely be higher than that of a new board.
Ergo, emit mater tabula nova. I was pleased to see it fire up on the first try. The CPU, RAM, and my SSDs are all totally fine. My system lives again.
The other major casualty of the storm was my negative scanner. This device is a sorta relic of the mid-00s, when digitizing media was a big selling point. Turns out, scanning old pictures is fairly tedious, and most people don't recognize the difference in quality. These devices have become irrelevant. If you need to scan a few negatives or slides, struggling photo shops can help you. If you want to scan a couple thousand, you might want to invest in some industrial equipment. The middle ground is somewhat forgotten about.
This means the software is not supported under windows 7, so third party versions become necessary. All the hurdles were worth it, as the third party software and drivers are often more robust than the dated ones from Nikon. Everything was actually working, but then, lightning.
So to make a long story short, I bought a new scanner as well. It has a transparency mode that allows me to scan any size negative or slide, and is theoretically better than the dedicated film scanner. Now i just have to dial in the settings. The biggest downside is its speed. I want it to make archive quality digital versions, so i am not terribly surprised, but my current rate is about 12 frames every 15 minutes.
Rather than starting chronologically, i have begun with my trip to Brazil. It was formative and exhausting and definitive. Looking at these frames again ten years later certainly reminds me of a few things.