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The Mammon Machine is a special device devised by Melchior, one of the three gurus of Zeal, on orders from Queen Zeal. The purpose of the machine is to extract energy from Lavos, and its original intent was to replace the solar energy that the kingdom had previously used as its power source. Melchior also crafts a pendant which he gives to the queen's daughter Schala as a means to control the machine; this same pendant is eventually passed down through the generations until it comes into the possession of Marle. The Mammon Machine is initially set up within the Zeal Palace, but later in the game is moved to the underwater Ocean Palace in order to maintain a closer physical presence to Lavos.
The machine's initial activation had an adverse impact on the queen's mental state. Already driven to madness following the death of her husband, the influence of Lavos's energy from the machine twisted her mind further and corrupted her into a fervent and loyal follower of Lavos. By her decree, the Mammon Machine is moved to the Ocean Palace, where Crono and his friends attempt to stop the machine by using a ruby knife granted to them by Melchior. However, the knife has no effect on the machine, and when its power is raised to its peak, Lavos temporarily awakens. In the resulting chaos, the three gurus and Schala's brother Janus are scattered through time, Crono is obliterated by Lavos, and Schala is pulled into a distortion and becomes a part of the Dream Devourer. As for the Mammon Machine itself, it and Queen Zeal both end up residing in the Black Omen, the floating fortress that was once the Ocean Palace.
Should the player choose to complete Chrono Trigger by running through the Black Omen, the Mammon Machine is encountered as a a boss fight in between bouts with Queen Zeal.