I should note that I thought of using local::lib to keep modules private and without needing root access, but I'm pretty wary of tampering with the test environment in any way. The ideal situation is to have a persistent ssh session (persistent even when calling a subroutine) which I can tell it to close when I want:
1) open ssh session
2) call subroutine (subroutine should run within the ssh session, not on the local system)
3) close ssh session
I will be indebted to anyone who has done this or can point me in a good direction.