A generally early TL 7 world, with late TL 8 genetic engineering capabilities. The portal opens in this world’s Alaska, which is a penal colony of sorts, a kind of frozen Australia. Operated jointly by the California Republic and the Russian Empire, it is currently undergoing an uprising in the many corporate-controlled mining and refining colonies. This uprising is being openly and actively aided by Canada. An attempts by the California Republic to shorten the conflict by means of an incapacitating virus has failed, and it is likely the war will continue by conventional means for the foreseeable future. The rebels are poorly armed and equipped, but have seized highly valuable industrial centers whose destruction would be costly for both the Californians and the Russians, whose economies both rely heavily on the output from the Alaskan colonies.
Information on the rest of the world remains spotty; the United States exists, but is divided not just into states (most of which match, roughly, Earth Prime boundaries), but into larger subregions which reflect prior separation and then reunification.
While the possibilities of applying modern technology to the techniques and innovations used by the locals to accomplish a great deal with far more primitive hardware are extremely tempting, the portal is an active war zone and there is also a risk of exposure to engineered illnesses which may not be conveniently treatable; mutations are common with their techniques.