After blowing several ransom opportunities, I finally got my first ransom payment today.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I jumped into the busy system and saw a Retriever at a belt within scan range of my gate. In fact, I was sure it was a trap; but most of the others in local were macro courier mission runners, and I was hungry and willing to take a chance. I saw a variety of T1 drones on scan, so decided I would have to take those out first. I landed near the mining barge, and just one burst of my microwarpdrive took me within range to immobilize my primary target with a stasis webifier and a warp prohibiter. I then targeted a couple of drones and turned all my guns and my own trusty Hobgoblin II onto them, one at a time. By the time I'd popped the last drone, I was down to about 40% armor myself--but the Retriever had nothing left to give.
With my guns and combat drone now trained on the Retriever, his shields and armor dropped fast. He opened a comms line with me, but communicated in Russian. Holding my fire with my victim at about 5% structure, I simply replied, "5M," he replied "OK," and within 15 seconds I had my money.
5M ISK is not a lot, but I checked the market and saw buy orders for 4M and one selling for almost 6M; with my luck, any T2 strip miners would be destroyed with the wreck. So I'm happy with how things played out, and I hope the barge pilot is pleased he was able to save his ship. Now, has anybody seen a lone Hulk crawling the belts anywhere?