Picked this up on a whim - pretty good and I cheered as the offensively bland Choudhury bit the dust, hopefully in the next book T'Ryssa Chen gets to take a phaser to the back of the head. I very much enjoyed the middle section and it was nice to see more of a universe outside of Starfleet.
As for "Is he Data or not?" question - that read to me to be set up for the next two books and a character arc.
A Phaser would be too quick for "EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE QUIRKY VULCAN."
She should have gone with Choudury and her hippee peace loving ways on the away team.