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It is another peaceful afternoon at Viridian City. In front of the locked doors of the Viridian Gym, two boys are gossiping about the whereabouts of the missing gymleader, Giovanni. One boy remarks that the man has not been seen around for a very long time and wonders when will the gym be re-opened for challenges. His friend says he has never met Giovanni in person and wonders what he looks like. The boy peeks into the dark room through the windows, points towards a metal statue of a middle-aged man, and says it is a sculpture of the gymleader.

After much crawling and climbing, Red has finally made his way out of the Diglett's Cave and finds himself back in Pewter City. He turns around to help a middle-aged man climb out of the cave entrance and remarks that it is one long underground tunnel. The middle-aged man thanks the boy for his help and guidance, and the boy happily fumbles in his pocket to pull out some pokemon 'fossils' he has found in the cave. The man gently laughs and says they are simpy rocks and says they should head towards the museum to see real fossils.

On their way to the city centre, Red keeps looking at the middle-aged man with a sense of nostalgia and asks if they have ever met before. The man replies that he doesn't recall meeting the boy and brushes the matter off. The truth is, the man is in fact Giovanni and Red probably recognizes his face from his statue he saw back in the Viridian Gym during his encounter with the Machoke a few weeks earlier. Giovanni continues to play dumb and explains that he is a pokemon researcher himself. He asks Red if he is a strong trainer and the boy brags that not even gymleaders can match up to his skills. Giovanni gets taken aback by the comment and hesitates a little while the boy continues to talk about his victory over several executives of the evil Team Rocket along his journey.

As the two get closer to the their destination, the air gradually gets warmer and warmer and Red sees that his Pika is starting to get dizzy from all the heat. Giovanni thinks to himself that the abnormal temperature rise does not seem to originate from the weather and guesses that there might be wild Magmars around. Just then, Red lets out a cry and exclaims that the science museum is on fire. The smoke clears a little and two Magmars are seen spewing fire all over the place. Red ushers Giovanni away from the scene and tells the man to keep himself safe while he deals with the fire starters. Giovanni smirks to himself and decides to see just how skillful the boy is.

Red releases his Snorlax, Lax, from its pokeball and the wild Magmars immediately start unleashing flamethrowers towards the snoring creature. The boy explains that Lax can regain its HP during rest and has the ability to withstand attacks for a long time. Giovanni points out that although Snorlax can endure the flames, the fundamental problem remains unresolved. Red realizes this and quickly thinks on a new strategy. He withdraws Lax and releases his Sandshrew, Sand, and orders it to put out the fire with a sand attack. The little mole pokemon starts kicking up sand from the ground and soon stops the fire pokemons from flamethrowing.

Giovanni is genuinely amazed by the boy's quickness in dealing with urgent situations and starts to understand why so many of his underlings have failed to take him down. He then points that although the sand attack has stopped the Magmars' attacks, the plan seems to be of temporary use. Red thinks hard again and orders Sand to run in loops around the wild pokemons whilst continuing to kick up sand. The little Sandshrew starts dashing in circles and soon traps the two Magmars in a massive sandstorm. A few moments later, Sand stops and pants while the fire pokemons have been completely buried in sand. Red compliments on his pokemon's hard work and Giovanni starts to dig out a pokeball from his pocket to help the boy finish off the Magmars. To his surprise, Red withdraws Sand and says the immobile Magmars should cause no harm anymore. Giovanni secretly grins at the remark and puts his pokeball away.

Red takes a look at the burnt museum and sighs that they won't be able to check out the fossils with the building's current condition. Giovanni says there will come another chance and fishes out a piece of old amber from his pocket. He gives it to the boy and says it's a thank you gift for protecting him. Red happily accepts the transparent yellow stone and exclaims that there is a little bug embedded in it. He then shakes hands with Giovanni and the man tells him to hurry on his journey. Red waves goodbye and trots off joyously while the man watches him from behind with an evil grin.

Giovanni muses to himself that the boy has great potential but still lacks experience with pokemons. For one, he has failed to realize that wild Magmars have strong fighting wills and would not give up on their enemies easily. The sand-covered Magmars behind the man start to shake and all of a sudden, wiggle free of their restraints and charge towards him. But Giovanni is prepared. As soon as the Magmars get close enough, a Cloyster pops out of nowhere and instantly freezes them solid.

As his frozen attackers lay immobile on the ground, the man slowly walks away and recalls the bits and pieces of his interesting encounter with the boy who has defeated two of his executives, Lt. Surge and Koga. He puts on another evil grin and assures himself that the boy is still no match for Team Rocket as the wind blows his jacket open and reveals a sweater with a big red R on the left chest...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us and doing the pictures

023: VS. Magmar!

Volume 02

Red meets Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket