An arctic (or antarctic) outpost would be difficult, but not out of the question. There are always explorers and merchants traveling to remote locations not to mention scholars and such, looking for lost ruins. Not to mention that Inuit and other peoples have always lived in cold climates.
The antarctic climate was chosen because it was remote and brutal enough to contain the creature. "The Thing" was based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by John Campbell, Jr. In the story, there are actually survivors who triumph over the alien.
The tricky part is how to do the absorption by the creature. The simplest way is probably just to have it kill the host, then absorb the corpse.
But what if someone is exposed to a small part of the creature, like a splash of blood? I would suggest a Fort save, maybe DC20-30 depending on how bad they got splashed.
The high tech thing is easy to deal with too. Just assume that the creatures are not as advanced as in the story. Perhaps they were summoned, or created by Elder Things in Antarctica... :cough: shoggoth :cough:
The biggest worry is how to keep the creature from spreading unchecked. The story and movie used climate (cold). Desert is tricky because even with the climate, the deserts are still full of life.
Here's one way to do it:
The PC's are hired by a scholar to escort him and a small entourage on an expedition to the uncharted south. The scholar has an ancient map etched onto a sheet of a strange coppery metal. The map apparently shows the location of a lost non-human kingdom on a distant southern continent.
The party sets off from Messantia by ship (AARGH Matey! Pirates!) and hugs the coast till they near the Fires of the South. From there, they sail due south dodging beasties and ice floes until they hit the northern edge of antartica. Using the map they manage to locate the northernmost outpost of the lost civilization.
Hugging the Antarctic coast, the party reaches the outpost, which turns out to be a large stone fortress/temple complex. They set up camp and begin their studies.
They discover that it was built by Elder Things, then taken over by Serpent men after the ET civilization declined. The Serpent men held it for several eons, then were destroyed by something they discovered in caves below the city.
As the characters explore the city, they encounter numerous beasties and dangers. They could discover Serpent man tombs, Elder thing laboratories, ape men, evidence that the Elder Things accidentally created mankind, and other blasphemies.
Eventually, the characters discover a Serpent Man laboratory where they release the dreaded doppleganger, which was created for servitude by the Elder Things. The doppleganger weakened the Elder Things until they were destroyed by the Sepent men, and then destroyed the Serpent men when they took over. Eventually a small band of serpent men trapped the thing and fled the city. The strange map could have been found in an ancient tomb on the mainland.
The goal is to escape with lives and sanity intact, preferrably without any doppleganger stoways. The characters could discover Serpent-folk weapons whether magical or technological that could help in fighting the creature.
How's that sound?