What is your Order of Hermes like?

Comments like this on another thread got my to thinking...

What is your Order of Hermes like? Do you have a Quaestorial police force to investigate crimes? Is the Order a strong political force, or just a set of ideals?

Leaving aside my current saga (where there is still some debate as to whether the Order exists at all)... I have generally played the Order as a loose association of covenants.

In my sagas, the basic unit of the Order is the covenant. Each covenant is largely independent and self governing, and relations between covenants are generally determined by the personality of the magi in question. Magi dedicate most of their time to study and lab work, or otherwise to pursuing their specific interests. The Tribunal, as once-every-seven-years gathering, serves as mediator to settle disputes between covenants and a court of final appeal for conflicts between magi which cannot be settled by mutual agreement, certamen or wizard's war. The role of the quaesitor is usually limited to that of legal counselor at the tribunal, or to the governing body of their covenant. Redcaps deliver messages and handle contact between covenants outside of the tribunal meeting. More than anything else, the Order is an ideal... the concept that magi can live and work together and a code of behavior to make that possible.

I'm curious to hear other people's views of what the Order of Hermes is and how it works.

Within our order, the houses are more guarded than is usual, aside from covenant allegiances. Quite some specialists guard their field jealously, procuring a good Mentem book is impossible, procuring a good Intellego book proved quite difficult (an interesting story and it is now the pride of our collection).
We do communicate with other covenants outside of the tribunals, and don't limit ourselves to our own tribunal (we are a border covenant), mainly because we like the stories which require us to travel. There are more travelling magi, but most seem to cloister up.

We have a very secretive Guernicus (about their investigations regarding diedne), and have had some difficulty with them, meaning politics are a dangerous field to us.
Bjornaer have quite a few secrets, but since two of our members are in it, I don't really mind
Trianomae have some unspoken truths and a few misrepresentations of reality, but are generally benign
Bonisagi let themselves be paid hansomely for their discoveries, even though they are technically open to the public
Flambeau seems to have quite an agressive view to promote christianity, and have secretive works on it, if not entirely headed by them, it is still spearheaded by key members
Jerbiton magi seem to skirt the "meddling with mundanes" more closely then usual
Merenita remain their enigmatic selves, just like canon
Tytali are known to roam the lands and seas in search of powerful creatures to challenge, we have had little dealings with them otherwise
The Tremere magus we have was quite grad to be shielded from the political dealings of her house, or is a better politician than I give her credit for.
We have little dealings with the houses of Mercere, Criamon and Ex Misc though I do use the network gained by Mercurian magic, which includes many Mercere

Mystery cults don't seem to have the political drive they could have, but it may be that this is just the