A complex deep below the Rockies. The command centre of the Syndicate and home of the Gadgeteer.
The cavern is mammoth and brightly lit. All around lay thick cables duct taped to the stone floor, connected to gigantic banks of super computers. A raised dais occupies the centre of the chamber. On the dais is a twenty foot high apparatus of metal and exposed wiring and circuit boards. In front of the machine stands Gemini, the de facto leader of the Syndicate.
The Gadgeteer sits nearby, hunched over a keyboard. He mutters under his breath as his thin fingers fly over the keys. Gemini turns to face the group assembled in the cavern.
”You have all been hand-picked by the upper echelon of the Syndicate for a very special assignment. As you all know, we have been facing mounting resistance in our efforts across the world. However, thanks to the efforts of our resident super genius, the Gadgeteer, we have created a unique opportunity. This,” he says, turning and gesturing grandly at the machine behind him, ”is a quantum bridge. It creates a portal between our world and a parallel earth. Your mission is to go there and create a beachhead for the Syndicate's operations which we will take there.”
The Gadgeteer raises his head from the terminal he's been working at, ”We, well, we sent a probe through the bridge a few days ago. Preliminary telemetry seems to, um, show that this alternate earth, which I've designated Earth-Sigma, is ripe for the picking. We've shown no...no indication of superhuman activity. You've all been given special communicators to allow, um, a two-way connection between the worlds via the probe.”
”When you arrive you will set up a base, as unobtrusively as possible, until such time as a concerted force can be sent to make our presence fully known to this new earth. Your primary concern is to protect the probe at all costs. Without it, we have no way of locking the quantum bridge to that earth.”
With that, there is a loud, piercing hum and the apparatus begins to crackle with energy. A loud foom! fills the chamber and a shimmering disk of greyish-green light fills the portal structure. One by one you file onto the dais and step into the portal. As the last prepares to enter there's a bang and a huge arc of electricity leaps from the side of the portal machine. The light disk shifts and ripples. Gemini turns and shoves the final team member into the fluctuating portal.
An indeterminant amount of time later the portal opens on Earth-Sigma. It opens with a thundercrack, sparks and arcs of lightning shooting off in all directions. The group is momentarily blinded and deafened by the cacaphony. When you return to your senses you can see that you've landed in the centre of a large smoking crater in a lightly wooded area. There are odd bits of metal and circuitry scattered throughout the crater.
One of the group pulls out their communicator and presses the button on the side. There is no signal to be found. The only conclusion to be made is that this scattering of machinery was the probe the Gadgeteer mentioned. And, with it gone, there is both no communication or way to go home.