In 2364, the Melbourne underwent maintenance at Starbase 74, at the same time as three other ships including the USS Enterprise-D. While there, the station's CO, Orfil Quinteros, initiated a rush repair schedule to get the vessel ready for pursuit when the Enterprise was hijacked by a group of Bynars. However, the situation was resolved before the Melbourne was flight-ready. (TNG: "11001001")
In late 2366, William Riker was offered the command of the Melbourne. While Jean-Luc Picard described her as "a fine ship," Riker decided not to pursue the commission at that time, choosing instead to remain aboard the Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Soon after, the Melbourne formed part of the forty-strong Federation task force that stood against an invading Borg cube at the Battle of Wolf 359. Early in the battle, it and the USS Saratoga engaged the cube, but its shields were quickly drained, and had half its saucer blown away by a cutting beam. The burning, lifeless hulk was then rammed by the cube as it pursued the Saratoga. Lieutenant Gregory Bergan was among the Melbourne's crew at the time. (DS9: "Emissary"; VOY: "Unity", "Infinite Regress")
Nevertheless, when the Enterprise-D arrived in the system a few hours later, enough of the wreck survived intact and was one of the vessels recognized by Commander Shelby. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
|USS Berlin • USS Cairo • USS Charleston • USS Crazy Horse • USS Enterprise-B • USS Excelsior • USS Farragut • USS Fearless • USS Fredrickson • USS Gorkon • USS Hood • USS Lakota • USS Malinche • USS Melbourne • USS Potemkin • USS Repulse • USS Valley Forge • Unnamed|
The Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 33) revealed that "there were actually two Starships Melbourne [...] the first was a Nebula-class model, barely glimpsed as a wrecked hulk in the spaceship graveyard from "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", and the second was the clearly seen Excelsior-class one in "Emissary".
The TNG short story "Trust Yourself When All Men Doubt You" in The Sky's the Limit established that the Nebula-class Melbourne was in fact under construction and intended to replace the Excelsior-class Melbourne. The Nebula-class Melbourne was the ship offered to Commander Riker. The Nebula-class Melbourne was launched early when the Borg attacked, and both ships were lost at Wolf 359.
Footage of the Melbourne's destruction was used to depict the destruction of the USS Righteous in the game Star Trek: Borg.