[The following is a note to myself. Really.]
The telegram says this:
Telluric ectoplasm projector discovered STOP Located in San Francisco STOP Controls still mysterious STOP Daring agents needed STOP Come at once STOP
The Zatarin Agency is located in the basement of a townhouse in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. Above it is the Zatarin Floral Service, and above that is Paul Zatarin’s residence. Mr. Zatarin is a moral man and a first generation immigrant who is immensely proud of his adopted country. As such, when he discovered the telluric ectoplasm projector in the basement, he immediately wired Max Mercer for advice.
Mercer visited San Francisco in person, with Dr. Primoris at his side. Unusually, the pair was unable to make much headway on the device: they were able to turn it on and test its functioning, but control was completely beyond them and the underlying principles remained somewhat of a mystery. Still, it was fairly clear what the thing did.
In short, the telluric ectoplasm projector creates exact replicas of its users and sends them where they are most needed. The window of operation is fairly narrow; a group of people can all arrange to arrive at the same place, but they can’t control where they go and if someone else comes along fifteen minutes later it’s more than likely that they’ll wind up in another location altogether.
Mercer and Zatarin talked over the possibilities, long into the night. Once Mercer was assured that Zatarin had the best interests of the world at heart, he made his recommendation. Simply put, he proposed that Zatarin recruit daring men and women who would be willing to use the telluric ectoplasm projector to fight evil and crime wherever it might take them. And Mercer, as it happened, knew a few likely candidates…
Which brings us back to the telegram. You just got it. There’s a request for assistance therein.
Off to California — and from a basement in San Francisco, the world awaits!