I don't remember what specific events led to me download and play this game but I remember that it seemed pretty damn cool to me.
The game was FREE and FUN. The whole experience was based on the Origin website set up for the game. You went there to download the game and then get a custom code in order to activate the game. You then had to download each of the episodes and read "emails" and watch video on the website to keep up with the story. If you did better in the game you got a different story.
The game itself was classic Wing Commander. Blasting aliens in space while taunting them. Your wing mates actually ejected if they got smacked down (which was nice). The controls worked nicely with a game pad + keyboard combo.
In any case due to the large fanbase of the wing commander games this game and all it's episodes are STILL available for free online!!!!
Download the games here.
Use a fanmade tool to get a passkey here.
Read the story before you begin each chapter here.
Learn how to run the game on a modern PC here. (basically you just have to run in in compatibility mode)