As part of a program to make construct-like beings under their control that can learn, take in experiences, and can grow and change, the masters developed a particular class of android long ago that does not entirely operate as an AI. Instead, it takes traces and scraps of real human souls to develop a consciousness that is not a purely mechanical AI.
The drawback with this type of android is that, when they die, the consciousness dies but the body repairs itself and waits for a new one to be put in its place, but if a new soul goes into the android, there would be a risk of the new soul not being under their control. So they sent androids with self-destruct orders into battlefields as basically suicide bombers. They kill themselves and a ton of humanoids and grab little "pieces" of the souls of the soldiers who died on the battlefield. The net result is that there isn't one soul in place, but enough scraps to amount to one. Usually, that results in a construct with a blank "soul" and thus with room to grow but with no personality to fight back against the masters. Occasionally, though, things go awry. That's how Duke came to be. By sheer chance, he got the fragments of people's souls dealing with the will to live. The will to grow, to be free, and the will to fight. As a result, he took on those characteristics and became too much trouble for the Masters to bother with, so they cut him loose from whatever AI network he was in.
Duke awoke after the battle of Dalberkine with no memories of who he is or was, and no knowledge of this world besides the most basic self-preservation data that was left in his system, which allowed him to survive until he met Animak, a bard who nursed him back to health when he was starving and weak after wandering away from the ruins of Dalberkine. Duke trusts Animak with his life, as he was the first good person he ever met. It was being inspired by Animak's kindness and will to help others that eventually resulted in Duke learning how to process emotions. He is the one who acts as pilot when Duke isn't available.
- Personality -
Duke is fundamentally unsure of himself due to his nature as an android with a frankenstien-style knitted together soul. He is unsure of whether he is a human or a robot, and whether he fights for humanity or is secretly a sleeper agent programmed to do so for now.
He acts boistrous and confident because he wants to convince himself and others he's confident in spite of his inherent fear that he is not good enough or is merely a programmed imposter.
Extremely willful and desires freedom for all living things. All sentient beings. He hates empires and above all hates those who seek to control or dominate others, subjecting them to what he sees as a fate worse than death.
Duke impulsively protects his friends and allies.
If you try to damage Duke's ship, he'll try to stop you, through violence if needed.
If you try to use Duke being an android against him, he will not help you when you are in trouble unless he absolutely needs to, even if it makes things harder down the line.
Duke tends to invite people to join his crew a lot. Some would say too much. If he meets someone who impresses him, or who just seems fun, Duke will probably try to invite them to join his crew. Caliban is usually helpful in stopping him or rescinding the offer.