The intractable bug has been sitting there for some obscene length of time. In the last two days, we have spent four hours on a session with the other group in our company that is trying to talk to our code across COM in order to make this work. Today's session didn't manage to solve the problem either.
About ten minutes after the session ended, I went to my machine and fixed the problem by setting one switch in the compile.
My Google-fu is strong, but it really helps when you finally find out what is going wrong in the communications protocols.
We'll see if this fix sticks...