I think you hit the nail on the head with the bubble as that’s how the game feels. As in you are moving between bubbles as you can only target stations, gates, mission targets ect in the auto mode, then theirs a loading animation when you fly to them.
The only thing that can be targeted in the manual mode is other ships, although they are still saying in the Steam forum that you can fly between points. If you can it just eludes me, also their still no variable throttle in manual mode.
A lot of scifi games are for sale on Humble Bundle, deals end on 8/19/2019