traz64 said:
works (although Kona is behind cloudfare)
Cloudflare is irrelevant. This is a link you're talking about. Anything about the site the link is provided from is irrelevant except that the page URL will be passed as the "referrer".

traz64 said:
however MRLs don't work, so it's not just throwing it into an href.
No, it is. Check the page source or the DOM. The address you entered has not been modified in any way.

I don't know what you're working with, but if you can access a local resource at that address in your browser only when you enter the address directly (ie. not from a link), then either your browser treats it differently as a link or the destination is rejecting the request due to the "referrer".

Mr.peanutbutter said:
If you try to run the actual link in chrome, it just performs a google search.
If you "click" on the link in Chrome, it actually tries to access it. If you enter the URL manually, Chrome won't treat it as a valid URL so it throws it to the default search engine instead. That's just Chrome for you.