Quince Waverleigh was a Starfleet officer in the 23rd century. Hailing from western Texas on Earth, Waverleigh had distinctive reddish-gold hair and gray eyes, and spoke with a pronounced Texan accent.

Waverleigh earned a reputation as a hell-raising ladies' man and practical joker when he attended Starfleet Academy with James T. Kirk, three years his junior. The only person known to get away with calling Kirk "Jimmy", Waverleigh made it his mission in life to get his young underclassman to "lighten up", and was unable to do so. He later became a decorated starship captain, commanding the USS Arlington, earning the Palm Leaf with Cluster twice. Kirk, by then captain of the USS Enterprise, often made it a point to go on shore leave wherever the Arlington was docked, as Waverleigh was known for memorable tales. In 2261, Waverleigh had married, and he and his wife Ke would have two children, a son and a daughter.

Around 2267, Waverleigh was promoted to the Admiralty - the youngest rear admiral in the Fleet - and held a desk job at Starfleet Headquarters, but it was often one he detested. "Don't you ever let anyone talk you into a desk job, Jimmy," was the advice he gave to Kirk; he had tried to commit some outrageous action that would get him demoted back to captain, but he believed the Headquarters staff had "grown wise" to him. In late 2269, Ke opted out of their marriage contract, and agreed to share custody of their children. This resulted in bouts of depression, resulting in his turning to alcohol; his aide, Lieutenant Rhonda Stein, had pushed him to speak with a staff psychologist about the breakup of his marriage, but he had thus far resisted.

Around this period, Captain Kirk contacted Waverleigh for information regarding Admiral Rodrigo Mendez, head of Starfleet weapons research, and his possible connection to the classified laboratory on Tanis. The only surviving researcher on Tanis, Dr. Jeffrey Adams, had admitted to working for Mendez to make bioweapons at Tanis. Waverleigh pointed out that the accusation against Mendez was a shaky charge from a questionable source, but agreed to look up what he could find due to Kirk's concern for it. He discovered biographical information on Adams and his criminal record, as well as Mendez's personal connection to the Tanis case (his son was one of the researchers killed at the base), and how Mendez and Adams were connected - the Romulan attack on the transport ship Brass Ring in 2249.

Initially, Waverleigh had turned the Tanis files over to Admiral Tsebili, who turned out to be a part of Mendez's conspiracy. Waverleigh's suspicions were further piqued by the inexplicable reassignment of Lieutenant Stein to the Personnel office, and the assignment of a Vulcan ensign named Sareel to spy on him. Sending out a brief message from a public comm station in San Francisco to warn Kirk of what he had found, Waverleigh contacted Admiral Noguchi, the head of the Personnel office, and warned of the conspiracy in the fleet. Flying a skimmer across San Francisco Bay, Waverleigh lost control of the craft and crashed into the bay, killing him instantly. The warning, however, was out: Kirk was able to apprehend Admiral Mendez and Dr. Adams, and Admiral Noguchi led the investigation that exposed four other admirals in Mendez's cabal. In his will, Waverleigh sent a package to Kirk onboard the Enterprise containing a stuffed armadillo he had called "Old Yeller", with a message he had recorded in the event of his death. (TOS novel: Bloodthirst)

When pushed by Fleet Admiral Heihachiro Nogura for promotion to the Admiralty himself in 2271, Kirk initially refused, citing Waverleigh's advice to him during the Tanis incident. Eventually, he acquiesced when Nogura seemingly made him an offer he couldn't refuse, to make him a "troubleshooter". As a result, Kirk moved into Waverleigh's old apartment overlooking San Francisco Bay, and would maintain it as his home throughout his residency on Earth. (TOS novel: The Lost Years)