Watters served on board the USS Valiant as part of a training cruise just prior to the outbreak of the Dominion War in 2373. After his commanding officer, Captain Ramirez was fatally wounded on the way back to Federation space, he was given a battlefield commission as captain and command of the starship. He chose to continue its original mission in Dominion-controlled space to gain intelligence on a new Jem'Hadar battleship, keeping the ship behind enemy lines for eight months. During this time, he came under intense pressure and started taking cordafin stimulants for two months.
In 2374, Watters ordered the Valiant to attack a Jem'Hadar fighter that was firing on the runabout USS Shenandoah. The fighter was destroyed after the Valiant rescued the two crewmen of the Shenandoah, Ensign Nog and reporter Jake Sisko. Watters offered Nog a field promotion to lieutenant commander, as the ensign was the most experienced engineer aboard.
With Nog able to fix the ship's warp engine problems, the ship was able to find the battleship and Watters could successfully complete his mission. However, Watters then became overconfident, convincing himself the ship could exploit a key weakness in the battleship's antimatter storage braces, which would eventually tear the ship apart. He was able to rally the crew to that goal, despite Jake's strong objections and Nog's assessment of what would be required to achieve the ship's destruction.
Watters tended to micromanage his crew. As an example, when he found out Dorian Collins had been talking about home with Jake and feeling homesick, he saw that as a distraction and ordered Jake to stay away from her. Later, he viewed Jake talking to Nog via a camera, trying to convince him the mission was foolish and could get them all killed. He then had Jake confined to the brig.
However, despite the successful blow to the ship, the plan failed, as the ship was not damaged. Forced into real battle, Cadet Captain Watters, with most of his crew, died in the destruction of the Valiant. In summing up his experience with Watters, Nog noted: "He may have been a hero... he may even have been a great man... but in the end, he was a bad captain." (DS9: "Valiant")
|Members of Red Squad|
|Tim Watters • Karen Farris • Riley Shepard • Dorian Collins • Parton|
|USS Valiant personnel|
Watters was played by Paul Popowich.
The storyline of "Valiant" strongly suggests that Watters intentionally hid the location of the Valiant from Starfleet and continuing his "mission" was merely to avoid returning to Starfleet and becoming a mere cadet again. Given that Jake and Nog had just left Starbase 257 in the beginning of the episode, the Valiant was only a few days or weeks travel from that base and Watters could have returned to Federation space at any time. The last standing orders of Captain Ramirez was to return to Federation space to get the cadets safely home and likely assumed that Watters would follow those orders in his stead ahead of orders meant for an experienced crew. It is also possible that the drugs may have had some effect on his overconfident nature. Furthermore, the rationale of his decision is flimsy; given that the Valiant's orders were eight months old by the time they were acted upon, the value of the intelligence that could be gained by the Valiant operating behind enemy lines was doubtful. Finally, it must be noted that Watters' actions also led to the failure of the ship's original mission; when the Valiant was destroyed, the intelligence that it had been ordered to gather was also presumably lost.
The short story "Dorian's Diary" in Strange New Worlds III establishes that in 2374, Waters and the rest of the deceased Red Squad members was posthumously awarded the Drakon Cluster of Courage.
In the reference book Star Trek: Celebrations, it was established that Starfleet Academy created a service award to cadets who show exceptional leadership and named it the Watters Ribbon of Valor in honor of Watters and it commemorated Watters and the other Red Squad cadets who died aboard the Valiant.