The masking screen itself is created when the device releases a cloud of water vapor into space. The vapor crystallizes and forms a protective cloud surrounding the ship. Besides making the ship more difficult to hit, a masking screen absorbs energy from a laser. If a ship is hit by a laser while inside a masking screen, the amount of damage that is rolled is divided in half (fractions are rounded up). The result is the number of damage points inflicted on the target ship. A masking screen has exactly the same effect on a laser fired out of the screen as it does on a laser fired into the screen. If a ship surrounded by a masking screen fires its lasers, resolve the attack as if the defending ship is masked.
To indicate that a ship is using a masking screen, place a screen counter on top of the ship counter.
This screen counter stays on top of the ship as long as the ship travels in a straight line at its current speed. If a ship or space station in orbit around a planet creates a masking screen, the screen will last through one complete orbit. The hex the ship or station was in when the screen was created should be marked with an upside-down counter, so players will know when one orbit is finished. A ship can carry only a limited number of masking screens. These must be marked off the ship's record sheet as they are used. When all of them are used, the ship cannot create any more masking screens.