Well, I ripped out the old tile shower and discarded the broken tiles.
Switched tactics and completed the electrical, lights, walls, paint, Hvac.
Now back to round three on the tile.
Completed the layout. Made a few minor changes that resulted in fewer grout lines and fewer cuts.
I set in the back row along the wall, and the front row along the drain and used tthem as journal reference lines to control the slope of the rest of the floor. The level (yellow) goes from front to back and I can use it to make sure every tile is the right elevation.