Well I know its not a glitch as I saw it happen in the perilous prize mission where the rich guys cargo vessel got destroyed in the fight but then showed up with the plasma leak animation. I know how to do it if the NPC gets killed, my question is how do I keep it from happening if they DON'T die
You don't, the trick is to place them on the exact same spot, and to name the first one with blank spaces (Like " "). If they survive, the new ship placed on the same spot with a name will appear, you can talk to them, and it will only look strange if the animations don't mesh with exactly the same positions. However, the example you cited, with plasma leaking, will work fine over another plasma leak or a ship without a default idle animation.
Had a feeling that's how it would work. Could I keep the name on the fighting version and leave the non combat one blank? With how I have this fight set up the player SHOULD win before its destroyed so it makes more sense to see the name at the beginning of the encounter instead of a blank
If they talk to the contact the button will read: "Talk to " if you name the appearing one blank. Also, I suggest, you set up a story dialog that says "All targets accounted for" at the least between the "kill all enemies" objective and the "speak with contact" objective. That way the contact will not appear before the enemy warp cores explode and destroy them anyways. (However, by that point they should be invulnerable anyways. Active speak with contacts have invulnerability, but not before or after their objective is in progress.)
Well currently I have the conversation start as soon as the kill all enemies is completed so I would think the cores shouldn't be a problem unless the player just zooms through the text. or does that not count as active speak?
My guess is that the "clone" that appears after it dies in combat would be set up to appear on a "Component Complete" attached to the friendly NPC, if it survives, that component will not be complete, and the spare clone will not appear.
It's not something I've tried, so I couldn't say for sure, but it's worth a punt.
So i tried the idea above and for some reason the combat version of the ship wouldnt merge with the NPC version, would just bounce off of it. Through testing at the levels this mission will be played at (31+ since im using Mirror Fed groups that are costumed up) I found the Akira would survive so I decided to just leave it be as is without the leaking variant. It's a risk yes but until i can find a way that works its the best I've got