Melina Carniss served as a dancer and later a dance designer for Jabba Desilijic Tiure at his palace on the planet of Tatooine. She was also a secret security officer at the palace. In 4 ABY, she attempted to arrest Mara Jade Skywalker, disguised as a dancer named Arica, when Jade tried to grab a blaster from one of the palace guards. Carniss thought Jade was part of an assassination attempt on Jabba by one of his rivals, Lady Valarian. However, Jade wasn't trying to kill Jabba, but instead Luke Skywalker, who was meeting with Jabba. 
Carniss took Jade into custody and led her out of the throne room to the dungeons. However, as she turned Jade over to the Gamorrean guards, Jade used the Force to turn Carniss's blaster muzzle, causing her to shoot one of the Gamorreans. The guards turned on Carniss with their force pikes, giving Jade time to escape.
Two years after the death of Jabba, she was recruited by Talon Karrde, but she became a spy of Ysanne Isard during the Bacta War of 7 ABY. Carniss provided information regarding a smuggling shipment in the Alderaan system, leading to an ambush by Captain Ait Convarion's Star Destroyer Corrupter. Fortunately, the attack was repulsed successfully by Wedge Antilles' group. Karrde discovered her treachery and wanted to eliminate her immediately. However, Booster Terrik managed, with difficulty and at great expense, to persuade Karrde to leave her alive long enough to use her to feed misinformation to Isard and ultimately set the stage for the Battle of Thyferra. She captained the YT-1210 freighter Empress's Diadem during the Bacta War.
Two years later, Karrde would encounter a woman named Celina Marniss (an anagram of Melina Carniss) who would, in fact, turn out to be Mara Jade. He hired her soon after he discovered this.
Behind the scenesEdit
In Timothy Zahn's 1996 short story, Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade, he described the character of Melina Carniss as dark-haired, wearing a red jumpsuit, and crouching over the rancor pit after Oola was dropped in. This of course was later overridden, and the character in the red jumpsuit became Laudica. A Human female with black hair, wearing a white dress first appeared in the Special Edition release of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi but it is unconfirmed whether this character is Melina Carniss.
- Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade
- A Time to Mourn, a Time to Dance: Oola's Tale
- Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- X-Wing: The Bacta War
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Reader's Companion