The Covenant Cruiser
Note: You may be tempted to save and quit at some point in this level if just because it is so long and daunting a level. My advice? Don't do that. When you come back to play you will discover that 9 times out of 10 the save causes you to restart at the beginning, so if you have already worked your way through the first half and are on the ship, it is not much fun to have to re
Head over to the launch pad and step onto it to join the Marines that the rescue ship just dropped off -- you get a CS of you being lifted up to the ship and Cortana tells you she has a lock on the location of the Captain then you are told that there are no Covenant here... But that cannot be right?
Before you can really think about that you hear this mad screaming -- mad as in insane -- and then you are attacked! See? There are Covenant here after all! And one of them is a Type 3 Elite with an ACU and he has a nasty Plasma Sword that will one-hit-kill you if you let him get close enough... If this were a conventional situation your Marines would go back-to-back in a circle and fire a mad minute off (that is where they basically empty their weapon spraying rounds on every direction hoping to hit something... Anything... Not an option here!
Basically you want to start by hitting what you can actually see, and thinning out the enemy in this room. Once you kill the Elite with the sword and thin out the rest you get another pair of Hunters coming through a door -- which by the way is the door you need to get through before it closes to grab the Skull for this area (and good luck on that, as chances are you will have to replay this level to get it since you are not likely to get it the first time through because you are more interested in staying alive than in collecting a Skull but still...).
This gets a little complicated because the door you need to go through below is locked -- and to unlock it you have to go through one of the two other doors in the main area (they both go to the same place) and battle your way to the control room -- you will know you are in the right place because music will start to play and you will battle a ginormous number of enemy and, finally, an pair of Hunters!
After you beat them Cortana will find the code that will get you through the door below that was locked... So head back down there (on the way you will deal with relatively minor resistance) and go through, working your way to the lower section and the door. I don't know about you but I experienced this as being a fairly complicated and involved process...
Rescuing Captain Keyes
Basically you will find several waves of regular mobs that end with a pair of Hunters -- when you reach the second hanger (with the big blue glowing wall) make sure you grab the Skull from one of the doors that the enemy comes in through -- it will be on the left and as you work your way up you will arrive in the hanger and Cortana will tell you that she has the combo, then you continue climbing levels until you reach the Bridge -- at the center of which is the Terminal for this level that gives you a very interesting CS that I recommend you watch -- interesting!
Follow Cortanas directions to the Brig and search for the Captain -- at the first level you will find dead marines who you can resupply from -- the first Brig is a dry hole but further down the halls is another and that is where you find the Captain!
You get a CS in which you learn a little about the Halo Rings -- Cortana figures out that the Covenant is looking for the Halo Control Room -- and the Skipper has a new mission for us: Beat the Covenant to the Halo Control Room! Well duh!
You need to keep the Captain alive -- and that means actively protecting him -- because otherwise if he dies you have to restart from the Checkpoint on the Bridge. Even on the higher difficulties this is not all that hard to do, just stick close to him, right?
You fight your way back to the Bridge and then wait for the audio CS to run its course, holding the Bridge until the Captain tells Cortana to find a Covenant Dropship -- she does that and leads you to it, at which point the Skipper flies you all to safety!
Reaching the Drop ship and getting the CS in which you all fly away completes the Level and unlocks the following Achievements:
-- Close Quarters Combat (25 GS) Complete the level "Truth and Reconciliation" with at least four rounds left in your Sniper Rifle.
-- Truth and Reconciliation (25 GS) Complete the level "Truth and Reconciliation" on any difficulty.
Personally I thought that the hardest part of this level was finding the Skull -- YMMV -- well, that and the fact that the Checkpoint System is a little wonky so you really have to complete the entire level in one go or it will very likely start you from the beginning...