I think before you keep calling people cheaters you ought to start quoting the rules in your accusations rather than saying "I think" or "I could be mistaken but..." As far as I can tell you are mistaken and there is nothing in the rules that says a contestant cannot trace something or use copyrighted source materials. I mean, how can one recreate their favorite Trek scene as a comic without using said scene as a reference point!!! It will be very unfortunate if you're inaccurate relaying of the rules and defamation of other contestants swayed people's votes in your favor... that, also, in essence is cheating.
Just for reference (although I didn't call anyone cheaters, I think people may just have not read or fully understood the lengthy rule details, they're hard to read because they are law texts) I did quote a part from there on page 12 of this thread, a smaller cut-out of it:
"(iv) the Submission Materials are all your original, sole work; (v) you solely own, or otherwise have the full right and permission to exploit, all of the rights in, to, and under the Submission Materials"
Having the full rights and permission to exploit, all of the rights in, to, etc. to me refers to copyrighted material, so making a one-on-one copy (even if not factually copied but looking close enough to be a copy) might be an infringement on the copyright rule.
Anyway, I share the thought that this thread should be a nice one and not a war or board of accusation. Having that said, I'd like to thank the person submitting #9 for his explanation and I'll take his word for what he says. That's definitely enough for me. No hard feelings.
On a final note: Cryptic is the one holding the contest and the rules do include also a mentioning that they are allowed to modify the contest at any time. If they saw it fit to reduce the amount from 20 to 10 I don't really need a reason other than that (although it'd be nice to know for sure). If they deemed the chosen entries acceptable even if they might not be 100% following the detailed rules - so be it. It is their contest and I wish everyone the best of luck.