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Subject: Mole
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2018 14:20
From: Chowzen {[email protected]}
To: PuzzlingEnthusiast {[email protected]}

PE:
As you may be aware,I am the leader of an underground activist organisation which is fighting for justice for my kind. Yesterday, I received an email from one of our "black ops" birdwatchers. He has unearthed some clews and found dirt on a mole situation that needs to be quelled.

Chowzen:
I am awaiting with baited breath for our organization to respond to this threat.
I'm sending you an encrypted message to guide you.
--Jim

Here is the message I received on my ultra high-tech message communications unit:

enter image description here
(This image is on a ±30 second loop)

I am at a loss. I cannot decrypt the information left for me on my pager, but time is of the essence!
I need to understand and nullify the threat before my comrades aren't all six feet under!

Can you dig into this and tell me what this threat might be?

HINT:

While there are many clews throughout, the answer is totally dependent on the last (longest-showing) pager code. (The powering up sequence helps to decrypt.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Are the typos intentional? Clews (clues), baited (bated) $\endgroup$
    – Phylyp
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 18:32
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Phylyp Clew is just an old-fashioned spelling of clue. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 18:35
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Intentional Typo :) $\endgroup$
    – Chowzen
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 18:36

2 Answers 2

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Partial solution potential errors:

The startup animation defines an order to read each "segment" let's interpret a solid line as a '1' and a hole as a '0'

This yields:

In hex:
2B 20 34 31 46 30 37 44 34 31
2D 20 43 32 41 38 46 41 46 30

Next we:

Convert these lines to ascii:

+ 41F07D41
- C2A8FAF0
If we convert to floats we get +30.0612, - 84.4901 which are the coordinates for the corner of Rose Street and Wintrap Avenue in Sopchoppy Florida. Which is known for its Worm Charming. Moles eat worms, and worms are bait. Hence the "baited breath". So the message is to bait out the Mole with a Worm aka a computer virus. Well I have been scooped. @harlan seems to have the final answer. The "people" in question are worms. And the Worm Grunting festival is the danger. So to list all of the hints: Bait, underground, "of my kind" hints they aren't human, Moles are a problem to worms, "unearthed", "arent all six feet under", "Dig into this", The message was from "Jim" (earthworm jim), Also the bounty ends on "the day of the threat" which is april 13th, when the festival takes place. The response to my answer had him "wriggling" with excitement I was so close QQ.

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  • $\begingroup$ I am still trying to figure out how mole fits into this. I'm pretty sure the answer is just a step or two away. $\endgroup$
    – wolfram42
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ This yields hex numbers, yes, but not those hex numbers... $\endgroup$
    – Chowzen
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ I seemed to have missed one on each line. I updated my answer. $\endgroup$
    – wolfram42
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ That looks promising! I'm positively wiggling in my seat, wondering what the next step might be. $\endgroup$
    – Chowzen
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ I'm getting there, slowly though. I added another edit $\endgroup$
    – wolfram42
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 21:35
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To build on wolfram42, with that location...well, a few paces away...

...the threat is on the sign! the Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival on Saturday!

It's clear that our underground activist association:

is literally underground, and that we are worms.

Birdwatchers

need to watch for real birds that will eat us.

(also, edit to add:

the worry that our comrades wouldn't end up six feet under was a clever tip-off, sounding too awkwardly mis-written and signalling that we need to stay underground!)

And so I raise the call to the underground!

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