While playing Halo 2, I noticed something. This may or may not have been reviewed before, but I'll write about it now. While playing the level Regret, I noticed something about Stealth Elites. I was playing on Heroic difficulty, and when I was in the underwater Forerunner temple I fought numerous Stealth Elites. As a point of interest, the underwater structure moves like a submarine. Just look at the spotlights when in the glass, box-like rooms that I am about to mention.
As you know, in the first room there are nothing but Grunts. In the second huge room, there are Honor Guards, Minor Elites, Kig-Yar Snipers, and Hunters. In the room after that, something interesting happened. As most of you know, in this glass box room, there is a small amount of water that cover a Grunt's legs. There are also a few Stealth Elites. Now, all of the Covenant troops in this room are camouflaged (useless considering the water reveals camouflaged troops quickly).
To get to the point; while fighting the Stealth Elites, I noticed that they were black. Then, another well-known Stealth Elite ran down a ramp into the water with an Energy Sword, catching me by uprise (I was looking out the window at the fish). After killing him with my own Energy Sword, I noticed that he had brown armor. I was then stuck by an angry Grunt, and forced to go back to the previous checkpoint. This time, I cleared the room with a Battle rifle. While shooting the Elites in the head, I noticed that the black stealth Elites took one more shot to kill than the brown one. This confused me to no end as the brown Elite had an Energy Sword (which is usually a sign of higher status) and the black Elites had Plasma Rifles.
After contemplating this for a time, I thought of the brown Stealth Elite in the Outskirts Sniper Alley. He too had an Energy Sword, but was relatively easy to dispatch with a no-scope to the face with my Sniper rifle (taken by an unwilling Johnson). I decided to test my theory of black Stealth Elites being Stealth Majors, and brown ones being Stealth Minors by whacking the Elites in the half-flooded room. The conclusion is that it took one more melee to kill the black Elites; thus implying higher status. Still, there is still some confusion over the fact that black Elites are never seen wielding Energy Swords, while brown Elites are always seen with them. As mentioned before, Energy Swords imply high status among Elites.
Do not confuse black Stealth Elites with purple-clad Special Operations Elites. The fact that the Special Operations Grunts have black armor, and the fact that Zuka 'Zamamee, being a Special Operations Elite, has lead to the misled belief that Special Operations Elites have black armor. It is false. Normal Special Operations Elites have very dark purple armor. And about 'Zamamee? First of all, Halo: The Flood is not a very reliable source, and second of all, 'Zamamee was noted to be a Special Operations Officer, thus wearing black armor.
So, what I am proposing is that brown Stealth Elites are Stealth Minors, and that black Stealth Elites are Stealth Majors. Also supporting my theory is the fact that brown Elites charge blindly into combat swearing oaths against the Demon, while black Elites use strategy and cunning and are therefore harder to kill. This, along with the energy shield evidence, should prove that black Stealth Elites are higher-ranked that brown Elites. It is a mere coincidence that brown Elites have Energy Swords, and black Elites do not.
Don't think I have forgotten about light blue-armored Halo: Combat Evolved Stealth Elites. These Elites have no shields, and are dispatched quickly with a shot to the head. I am thinking that these are either Rookies, or that Bungie has replaced them with the brown Elites, who have weak shields equal to those of a Minor Elite, in Halo 2. To create more of a challenge, they may have added the black Stealth Elites as officers. And officers, as you know, prefer to control operations from a safe distance, not with Energy Swords, but plasma rifles, the Elite's favorite weapons.
And about the underwater temple (which is personally my favorite area in all of Halo 2), wouldn't the second glass room filled with water eventually shatter and implode under the pressure?
UPDATE: It appears I have this all wrong. Either my Halo 2 game disc or my Xbox is completely retarded, or they are correct, and Bungie and everyone else is wrong. Now for the debate; are brown elites or black elites stronger? Based on the evidence everywhere, brown Elites are. Based on my own evidence (which I believe), black Elites are. And about that underwater temple, I'm still rather surprised that it hadn't flooded and imploded by the time of Halo 2... How did the water get inside in the first place?