Bjalin was a classmate of Han Solo in the Imperial Academy, and later participated in the court-martial of Han, being given the special job of literally stripping him of all Imperial decorations. He served as a lieutenant on the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser Imperial Destiny, where he nearly captured Han who was attempting to escape after witnessing Admiral Winstel Greelanx's execution by Darth Vader. Instead, Han escaped, managing to stun Tedris and advised him to leave the Imperial Navy.
Bjalin would later take his former friend's advice. Shortly after the massacre on Mantooine, Imperial ships on Tyshapahl ignited their engines, incinerating a large group of anti-Imperial protesters. His whole family, who were among the group, perished. Bjalin joined the Corellian resistance, shortly before the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and became a member of Red Hand Squadron.
He rose through the ranks quickly, becoming a captain due to his Imperial training and took charge of the Marauder-class corvette Retribution. Bjalin captained the Red Hand Squadron command ship just before their raid (led by Commander Bria Tharen) on the Ylesian slave ship Helot's Shackle.