Forgot to say, CPO Mendez's little speech actually comes from 'The Fall of Reach' and is therefore the property of Eric. S. Nylund, not me. I just wish!
The years passed quickly for Xander and Faith, as they were put through their training under the watchful eyes of CPO Mendez and the AI Deja. Dr Catherine Halsey was another constant in their lives, and for many of the Spartan trainees, she became something of a mother figure, because most of them were too young to remember their mothers properly. Not so with Xander and Faith. They were more than happy to forget theirs.
They remembered their lives prior to Reach better than most of the other trainees. Some of this could be put down to the age of their minds when they arrived on Reach, the rest was due to the type of life they had led prior to this. They took this opportunity that fate had, even in the guise of a vengeance demon, granted them, and grabbed hold with both hands.
During this time, it had become apparent, even to Buffy and Willow, after a months lack of contact, that something serious had happened to Xander. At first they thought he was sulking over their decision to relegate him to research and doughnut boy, but when they realised that Faith was missing too, they really started to worry.
Giles began researching all of the possible mystical ways that Xander and Faith could've disappeared, whilst Willow was using the Internet for her own search. This was in between attempting to foil the Mayor's plans for his demonic Ascension. But they never thought to ask Anya what she might know.
Xander and Faith on the other hand, were really benefiting from having a positive influence in their lives, and it showed through their performance. Although neither of them were the best, nor was they the worst, and even then, the worst of the Spartans at the age of 12 years old was more than a match for any member of any of the other branches of the armed forces. And they knew it. From their previous lives in Sunnydale, both had brought something with them. For Faith it was an ability to excel at any form of unarmed combat, which came from when she was the Slayer. Xander, on the other hand, had an almost instinctive knowledge of guns and bombs, and this came from when he was a Halloween soldier, and now he had the patience and the expertise to use this properly.
At 14 years of age, the entire class of Spartans underwent a series of enhancements, surgical and otherwise, and later gained the Mjolinor armor, for which they would be forever identified by. These procedures carried a high morbidity and mortality rate. Xander and Faith were 2 of only 33 to come through successfully. Their first mission was mere weeks away after that.
No one knew what would come after this. No ones nightmares even came close.