A dry world toward the fringes of the League, Cerillos is renowned for its hardy if somewhat insular inhabitants. Descended from the Hispanic and Indian peoples of southwestern North America, the population is proud and self-reliant, placing considerable emphasis on strength and personal honor. A spirit of machismo dominates on Cerillos (and several surrounding worlds in the unofficial “Trinity” province that also includes Galisteo and Sierra), as does a level of chauvinism and prejudice uncommon in the Free Worlds League, attitudes protected by the “cultural identity” provisions of the federal charter. Only a handful of population centers exist on the continents of Las Cruces, Mazatlán and Santa Rosa, with most of the population residing on scattered ranches and haciendas. The planetary capital, Puerto Cortés in the Rio Vicente valley, is the site of one the Free Worlds’ largest cattle markets every autumn.
With a largely agrarian economy — Cerillos’ only substantive exports are animal products, principally beef raised in the high plains of Alamogordo and San Clemente — little wealth exists on any of the “southwestern” worlds. This makes joining the military an attractive option. The inhabitants of Cerillos are generally tough and skilled fighters, provided their aggression can be channeled and they heed authority. The mercenary command Camacho’s Caballeros typifies the martial ideal of Cerillos and its fellow southwestern worlds (the Caballeros’ leader, Carlos Camacho, hails from nearby Galisteo). On all three planets, brotherhoods of retired soldiers form strong bonds that rival even these worlds’ intense family loyalties. Some of these brotherhoods are little more the social gatherings where old soldiers can meet, drink, and trade war stories, but the ones in the upper echelons of society are martial orders with intricate rituals and structures.