After the disappearance of the Enterprise-B in 2329, Starfleet spent 18 months looking for the lost starship. Officially there was no mention of a new Enterprise being in consideration at that stage, quietly however the third spaceframe being built for the brand new Ambassador class at Utopia Planitia was left unnamed, just in case the search for the Enterprise-B proved unsuccessful.
In 2332, the Enterprise-C was commissioned and launched from Earth Station McKinley, under the command of 33-year-old Captain Rachel Garrett, who was promoted after an impressive tour of duty as the XO on Hood. One of the largest starships ever built at that time, Enterprise was designed first and foremost for deep-space exploration, and served with great distinction for 12 years.
In 2344, while on course to Archer IV, Enterprise received a distress call from the Klingon outpost on Narendra III. When the ship arrived, the outpost was under attack by 4 Romulan Warbirds, standing no chance of survival. With sensors showing the nearest Klingon ship was still hours away and wouldn't arrive in time, Captain Garrett took the decision to engage the Romulans, despite being heavily outgunned. The Enterprise-C was able to destroy one of the Warbirds before being overpowered and eventually destroyed by the three remaining Romulan ships.
However, Captain Garrett's decision to defend the outpost despite the insurmountable odds didn't go unnoticed. By the time the nearest Klingon ship arrived at Narendra III, the Romulans had withdraw victorious, but the picture of what had transpired was clear from the remaining debris. Enterprise's sacrifice was regarded as both honorable and glorious by the Empire, and proved in the Klingon's eyes that the Federation could be a worthy ally.