DARPA, everyone's favorite top-secret military organization, has put out a series of tweets that's got everybody a bit nervous.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been responsible for some rather strange projects in the past. Really odd stuff. Seriously. Over the years they have put their massive resources into everything from remote-controlled spy bugs to "mechanical elephants" they planned to create and deploy during the Vietnam War. In one of their most famous projects, they even created a "psychic spy" program in the 1970s, spending millions of dollars investigating whether "psychics" and "telekinetics" could spy on the enemy telepathically, or else move objects with their mind (spoiler alert: No, no they could not).
So when they put out an enigmatic (and incredibly urgent) request on Wednesday, they got the speculation they deserved.
DARPA, it turns out, is looking for a massive underground bunker in order to carry out "experimentation". The space they are looking for – oh god – must be underneath a city and be complete with a network of underground urban tunnels.
Getting even less reassuring by the second, the military group say they absolutely must have the responses by today at 5pm. Whatever they urgently need a network of underground caves for, apparently they need it pronto.
“Attention, city dwellers! We’re interested in identifying university-owned or commercially managed underground urban tunnels & facilities able to host research & experimentation," they wrote on Twitter.
"It’s short notice… We’re asking for responses by Aug. 30 at 5:00 PM ET.
"The ideal space would be a human-made underground environment spanning several city blocks w/ complex layout & multiple stories, including atriums, tunnels & stairwells. Spaces that are currently closed off from pedestrians or can be temporarily used for testing are of interest."
The pictures accompanying the tweets confirmed that they are searching for extremely sinister-looking Stranger Things-style facilities only. People with normal-looking disused underground bunkers need not apply.
People were, of course, quite freaked out and reluctant to help.
DARPA weren't exactly reassuring in their responses to people, either.
So far, they have not yet confirmed what they intend to use this for, nor why tweeting a request out to the public is the best way they can find a network of caves. Maybe they hoped they were followed by Batman.
However, as Futurism points out, the request is likely related to their upcoming "subterranean challenge", which is tasking teams of engineers to create robots that can map, navigate, and search underground environments like man-made tunnels and natural cave systems.
Unless that too was just cover for more Resident Evil-style zombie stuff. Fingers crossed I guess.