@julian So I forked and installed @seti123 's plugin. I had to make a few changes to the way it calls topics.getTopicsByTids() - it looks like the function signature may have changed.
At this point I appear to be getting legitimate search results from the long-form search url that's being installed:
I believe the standing question is:
Is there some way to override the built-in /api/search/:term route so the UI will process the elasticsearch results instead of the built-in REDS results?
I'll dive in and see if I can figure it out... let me know if you have any input.