The original intent, of course, was that it would be two books, so there'd have been a gap into which you could slot such adventures in between them. Obviously that was lost when it became one book, but that's why there's a gap of a couple of months between parts one and two...
I voted "Above Average." I started the book yesterday, and finished it today. Very well-written; the characterizations of the various regulars and guests were spot on, and the new ones were pretty interesting, too. You had Geordi's and Scotty's "voices" just about perfect.
One of the few flaws was it felt like two separate , but related novels, glued together. Sort of like in the past, when they would take two episodes of a TV show, put them together, and market the combo as a movie. But your quote above explains why it felt that way.