Alright, I realize I'm technically breaking my very own rule about chapters and author's notes, and possibly site rules too, but being as no less than 72 of you have reviewed this fic and at least two thirds of you wanted the backstory explaining how Vader survived ROTJ and re-connected with his family twenty-five years later, I decided it's time I put the explanation up on the site so I don't have to keep writing it out over and over and over again. :P
Meaning, no, THIS IS NOT A SECOND STORY CHAPTER. Very sorry, everybody. There's a possibility of a sequel, provided my draft ever cooperates with me; you can check the Future Projects section of my profile for the scoop on that. In the meantime, here's my official backstory explaining Vader's survival of ROTJ:
Everything proceeds as per canon right up until the climactic moments on the Death Star. Rather than physically picking up the Emperor and tossing him over the rail into the chasm, Vader chooses the sensible (if less dramatic) route and flings him overboard via the Force, thereby avoiding lethal electrocution. Realizing that the Death Star is on the verge of destruction, Luke and Vader decide to call a temporary truce and get back to their respective sides, planning to come to terms with each other at a less life-threatening time. Luke heads back down to Endor while Vader takes a shuttle to the Executor.
On the Executor, Piett managed to intensify forward firepower in time to prevent the ship from being destroyed. However, the Executor has still taken severe damage – her sublight engines are practically inoperational and her navigation computers were wiped out of commission entirely. Vader realizes that without her engines or nav system, the Executor's only chance of getting out of the Death Star's blast range is to make a blind jump into hyperspace. He and Piett manage to pull this off a mere instant before the space station explodes; Imperials and Rebels alike assume that the Executor was destroyed along with the Death Star. In actuality, the Star Destroyer drops out of hyperspace somewhere in the Unknown Regions, still without her nav systems or sublight engines. It takes Vader and his crew the next twenty-five years to work their way back to civilization. Without any source of personnel replacement, and still deeply affected by the events that occurred on the Death Star, Vader inevitably mellows into a much lighter character, although he'll never admit to himself or anyone else since he has to continue at least pretending to be the same terrifying and ruthless commander as always. After encountering a New Republic scout ship at last, Vader brings the Executor back to the known reaches of space…
…and that's where Limpet takes off, more or less.
At any rate, that is my incredibly convoluted backstory justifying my equally ridiculous premise. Obviously this would all have been a huge distraction if I had tried to explain it in the fic itself, which is why I left it at vague references. NO, I have NO plans to develop said convoluted backstory into a full-length fic, so nobody start leaving me cute little hints; I'm already way in over my head with one ridiculously bloated and meandering story (readers of The Father or Far More Than Rubies, you can explain to the others just how long it takes me to write an epic).
Once again, I apologize for violating my own principles about author's note chapters, but this was simply the best way to get the explanation clearly to everybody. I should have done it ages ago...