History and specifics
According to a Starfleet Academy simulator scenario, a fleet of more than fifty alien starships, manned by 1700 crewmen, attempted to pass through the system and were heavily damaged by the ensuing explosions. The ships floated derelict with minimal life support systems as the crewmen began repairs and sent distress calls, all garbled because of the particle interference. In the simulation, USS Agincourt was to map the system and interact with the aliens.
Jana Akton swept each planet with the ship sensors until she picked up electromagnetic pulses and discovered the field of derelict ships. After determining the impact residue and warp exhaust, simulation CO David Forester ordered to go around the field while putting a sensor grid to detect any suspicious movements.
Vanda M'Giia failed to identify the ships or the emissions as familiar. She attempted to open a broad hailing frequency responding to the distress calls, but the interference garbled the universal translator.
Suddenly, blue fire erupted from the propulsion stream of one of the ships and the space dust exploded. Sturek determined that the phenomenon volatility reacted with the drive sequences of the alien ships, before another blast of energy followed. Unable to establish any communication, the ships considered Agincourt hostile and started firing against her.
Forester attempted to indicate the problem to the aliens by using a tractor beam and lead four ships out of the incediary space. During the attempt, the simulated bridge exploded while deaths were accounted in the engineering section. To show that Agincourt did not intend to destroy them, she hit a ship's weapons port with a quick burst; that ship attempted to escape the tow, igniting pockets of space dust popping up like fireworks between the ships.
It was then when the team realized that they didn't raise the deflector shields. Eruptions ran in a chain reaction along the ships, igniting exhaust and fuel and breaking their hulls. Blue fire swept through the pockets engulfing the Agincourt before they could escape. (TOS novel: Starfleet Academy)