Re: Why didn't any of the Exeter's crew beam down to the planet?
The Intrepid didn't send a distress signal, but Starbase 6 lost contact and asked Enterprise to check it out.
...within several hours.
Starfleet lost contact with Defiant and sent Enterprise to check it out.
...after three weeks.
But still after 6 months nobody cared what had happened to the Exeter
Could it be she had been on a top secret mission that would have taken that long or longer?
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein