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The device that would become known as Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (or B.A.R.F.) was developed by Stark Industries engineer Quentin Beck for a reported $611 million. The machine links to its user's mind to generate hyper-realistic holographic environments drawn from the user's memories or imaginings. Not long after the device had been developed, Beck was fired from Stark Industries for "instability", but Tony Stark kept the device, dubbing it B.A.R.F. (much to Beck's aggravation) and using it as a therapeutic device to facilitate the reprocessing of traumatic memories. Beck despised his invention's silly name and that it would be used for something as "wasteful" as therapy, and he would hold this grudge against his former employer for years to come.[1][2]

Tony Stark debuted B.A.R.F. at M.I.T. when he announced the new September Foundation Grant. During the demonstration, Tony relived a slightly altered version of his last interaction with his father and mother before their deaths.[1]

After Stark's death, Beck, accompanied by several other disgruntled former Stark employees, stole back an upgraded version of B.A.R.F. to use in his campaign to supplant Stark as "Earth's Best Defender". Using holographic illusions of monsters called "Elementals" to conceal drones and pyrotechnics, Beck and his crew attacked several cities around the world. Beck (or more often, a holographic copy of Beck) would soon after arrive on the scene to "defeat" the "monster".[2]

Beck and company attacked a village in Mexico, an unknown location in Morocco, the waterways of Italy, and a carnival in the Czech Republic. Over the course of the attacks, Beck earned the trust of the man posing as Nick Fury and friendship of the young Peter Parker, who gave Beck the nom de guerre "Mysterio". However, Beck was conspiring to kill "Fury" (the most likely person to discover his ruse) and only bonded with Peter because the boy had inherited a useful AI from the late Tony Stark which Beck intended to use for his fifth and final attack.[2]

Peter discovered Beck's treachery when his classmate MJ found a stray projector used in the Prague attack. Spider-Man went to warn Fury of Beck's true nature, but Mysterio intercepted him in an elaborate ambush. Fooling Peter into believing he was in Fury's office, Beck "killed" the holographic Fury and used the holograms to bring to life several of Peter's worst anxieties and fears. Mysterio then dropped the second layer of the illusion and created another holographic Fury, who "rescued" Spider-Man from the torment and asked Parker who else knew about Beck's lies. After Peter listed his classmates Ned, MJ, and Betty, Mysterio dropped the third layer of the illusion. After a half-hearted apology to Parker, he finally revealed to Peter his actual surroundings - the path of a bullet train that quickly ran Peter over. Assuming the boy to be dead, Beck made arrangements for his final attack on London, during which he also planned to kill Ned, MJ, Betty, the man he believed to be Fury, and the woman he believed to be Maria Hill.[2]

"Fury" quickly realized something was amiss in the London attack when the "dead" Elementals all suddenly re-appeared and fused into an even nastier monster. This was confirmed by a coded message from Happy Hogan and Peter Parker, who'd survived the train and was on his way to defeat Beck and rescue his friends. As Mysterio and Spider-Man fought, Spider-Man damaged enough of the illusion drones that Mysterio was forced to drop the illusion and make the drones visible to the city. Mysterio used B.A.R.F. for the final time in an attempt to shoot Spider-Man in the head, but using his Spider-Sense, Peter detected it and dodged.[2]

The confusing turn of events made the London attack a difficult news story to cover, as Mysterio was now dead and Spider-Man did not have a publicly-known identity. One week later, a video seemingly filmed by Beck was sent to TheDailyBugle.net, a sensationalist news website. The video presented the situation such that Mysterio had successfully defeated the Elemental fusion, and that the swarm of attack drones were the doing of a deranged Spider-Man, who murdered Mysterio so as not to have any competition in becoming Earth's new most-loved superhero. With little other reliable information to work from, this became the generally accepted narrative of the London attack.[2]

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