A lot to think about! I appreciate all the points of view. I'm going to let it stew in my mind for little while before pulling a trigger...
I recommend a good 100mm class doublet as you have concluded. A Takahashi FC-100DC is the deal @ $2,500 for a tube and holder if money is less of an issue. But no amount of money is going to bring them back into stock anytime soon. Relatively compact at f/7.4 the FC-100DC is excellent optically and the only 100mm class doublets that can better it except are the longer more expensive Takahashi FC-100DL or FC-100DZ.
At only about 40% of the price for a nonexistent new Takahashi FC-100Dx scope the Astro-Tech 102EDL is a real catch for the money as it is similar optically to the slower older FPL-53 class ED100 but has modern mechanicals and cosmetics. Think of the AT102EDL as a slightly faster prettier upgraded SW EVO STAR ED100, well worth the extra $100.
If you live in the world of house payments and college tuition for the kids the next best optically are the Synta clone ED100mm f/9 scopes. These scopes have optics that are 95% of the Takahashi scopes above but being used are only about 1/4th the price of the cheapest new bare tube 100mm Takahashi. If you for some reason feel you must have a new ED100 scope the $950 SkyWatcher EVO STAR 100ED is the same scope but nobody has touched it. None of these scopes it really compact and even the ED80mm at f/7.5 is not really all that short even if they are relatively lightweight.
That said the next level down, as in $600 new but at least with some availability are the Astro-Tech scopes using FPL-51/FK61 etc class ED glass. So while they are faster and more compact optically they are not in the same league as the longer slower higher class ED lenses. Perfectly usable workman like optics but not great.